Martin Robert Coles (born October 12, 1929) is an American author, child psychiatrist, and professor at Harvard University.
Born Martin Robert Coles in Boston, Massachusetts on October 12, 1929, to Philip Coles, an immigrant from Leeds, England, and Sandra Young Coles, originally from Sioux City, Iowa. Robert Coles attended Boston Latin School where he played tennis, ran track, and edited the school literary magazine. He entered Harvard College in 1946, where he studied English literature and helped to edit the undergraduate literary magazine, The Advocate. He graduated magna cum laude and earned Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1950. He originally intended to become a teacher or professor, but as part of his honors thesis, he interviewed the poet and physician William Carlos Williams, who promptly persuaded him to go into medicine.
He studied medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduating in 1954. After residency training at the University of Chicago, Coles moved on to psychiatric residencies at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA. Knowing that he was to be called into the U.S. Armed Forces under the "doctors' draft," Coles joined the Air Force in 1958 and assigned the rank of Captain. His field of specialization was psychiatry, his intention eventually to subspecialize in child psychiatry.