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Corbett family collection, 1862-1979

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Corbett family
Title
Corbett family collection
Dates
1862-1979 (inclusive)
1902-1979 (bulk)
Quantity
4.65 cubic feet, (10 document cases, 2 flat boxes, and 2 oversize folders)
Collection Number
Coll 592
Summary
Papers and photographs relating to the family of Henry L. Corbett and to Hamilton F. Corbett.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English, French


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Henry Ladd Corbett (1881-1957) and Hamilton Forbush Corbett (1888-1966) were two of Henry J. and Helen Ladd Corbett’s three sons, the third being Elliott Ruggles Corbett (1884-1963). Their father died in 1895, and when their grandfather, Henry Winslow Corbett (1827-1903), died, the three Corbett brothers inherited the family’s wealth and business empire. Both Henry L. and Hamilton Corbett attended Harvard University; during his time at Harvard, Hamilton played on the football team, and was selected as a consensus first-team fullback for the 1908 College Football All-America Team.

Hamilton F. Corbett served in a field artillery unit during the First World War, and was wounded during fighting along the Ourcq River in the course of the Second Battle of the Marne. He returned to the front in time for the Armistice, and served as aide-de-camp to Major General James Harbord with American occupation forces in Germany until his discharge in May 1919. Henry L. Corbett, meanwhile, worked with the War Industries Board and helped increase the output of Portland shipyards. He began training for military service, but the war ended before he was to be commissioned.

Following the First World War, all three Corbett brothers engaged in a number of business and real estate enterprises, including the construction of the 10-story Pacific Building on SW Yamhill Street in Portland. Henry L. Corbett also became involved in local Republican politics, serving in the state senate, where he was President of the Senate for the 1927-1928 legislative session; he unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1931 before returning to the state senate from 1933-1936.

Hamilton F. Corbett married Harriet Cumming in 1922. Henry L. Corbett married Gretchen Hoyt in 1908, with whom he had five children: Helen; Henry Ladd, Jr.; Alfred Hoyt; Elliott Ruggles II; Rosina. The youngest son, Elliott Ruggles (“Yot”) Corbett II, attended the Thatcher Boarding School in Ojai, California, before going to his father’s alma mater, Harvard University. He left Harvard to join the military in late 1942, training first with the 10th Mountain Division and then the Army Air Corps, before transferring to an infantry replacement battalion so that he could be sent overseas. He died of wounds received at the Battle of the Bulge on November 22, 1944, though due to an error by a chaplain’s clerk, there was some confusion as to his fate for a few months in early 1945.

Henry L. Corbett died of a heart attack in April 1957 in Dunsmuir, California, while en route to Portland from Santa Barbara. Hamilton died in 1966 in Portland, Oregon. Henry L. and Gretchen Corbett’s southwest Portland home, built in 1916, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the H. L. and Gretchen Hoyt Corbett House.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of papers, photographs, and ephemera relating to the Corbett family, primarily to Henry Ladd Corbett, his younger brother Hamilton Forbush Corbett, and his youngest son, Elliott Ruggles Corbett II. Typescripts of letters sent by Hamilton F. Corbett and letters sent both to and from Elliott R. Corbett II make up a substantial portion of the collection’s correspondence, along with correspondence between Henry L. Corbett and others regarding Elliott R. Corbett II, correspondence between Henry L. and Gretchen H. Corbett and Humphrey and Elizabeth Neame, whose sons boarded with the Corbetts, and letters to Gretchen Corbett from her brother Alfred O. Hoyt and cousin Sherman Miles. Additional correspondence includes letters by Alfred Hoyt Corbett and Henry Ladd Corbett, Jr.

Aside from correspondence, the collection’s papers include: title abstracts and assessments of Henry L. Corbett’s property; ledgers kept by Henry L. and Gretchen H. Corbett,; documents relating to Henry L. Corbett’s water development projects on Jack Creek and Crooked River; documents relating to developments on the Corbett property in the 1960s and 1970s; certificates and citations awarded to Corbett family members. Photographs in the collection consist of snapshots and portraits of Corbett family members, images of the Corbett ranch house at Metolius, Oregon, an 1862 image of downtown Portland, Oregon, a photograph of a World War I field ambulance, and postcards from Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library prior to any use of reproductions. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use of reproductions may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright holders.

Preferred Citation

Corbett family collection, Coll 592, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series A :  Personal correspondence and records,  1912-1945 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Letter from Alfred Hoyt Corbett
1/2
Correspondence from Alfred Hoyt Corbett
Subseries 1 : Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
Consists of letters from and to Henry L. Corbett's son Elliott Ruggles Corbett II, as well as some correspondence between Henry L. Corbett and others concerning Elliott Ruggles Corbett II and ephemera relating to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II.
Box/Folder
1/3
Letters from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1937-1938
1/4
Letters from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1939-1940
1/5
Letters from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1941-1942
1/6
Letters and telegrams from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1943 January-August
1/7
Letters and telegrams from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1943 October - December
1/8
Letters and telegrams from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944 January-May
1/9
Letters and telegrams from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944 June - September
2/1
Typescripts and photostatts of letters from Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944 October-November
2/2
Letters and telegrams from Henry L. Corbett to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1940-1941
2/3
Letters and telegrams from Henry L. Corbett to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1942
2/4
Letters from Henry L. and Gretchen Corbett to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1943
2/5
Letters and telegrams from Henry L. Corbett to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944
2/6
Letters sent by Henry L. Corbett to Eliott Ruggles Corbett II
Letters which were returned to Henry L. Corbett
1944 November 7 - 1945 February 13
2/7
Letter from Henry L. and Gretchen Corbett to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
Copy of letter that was returned.
1945 February 27
2/8
Correspondence and papers re Elliott Ruggles II's enlistment into the army
Also includes mention of Alfred Hoyt Corbett's enlistment.
1942 December - 1943 April
2/9
Correspondence and records re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II leaving Harvard for military service
1943 March
2/10
Letter from Henry L. Corbett to Lt. George Bartlett re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944 September 11
2/11
Letters from Henry L. Corbett to Harvard Fly Club re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944 September 27
2/12
Correspondence between Henry L. Corbett and Sargent Kennedy re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II's academic probation
1941 December - 1942 February
2/13
Telegram from Ivison Macadam to Henry L. Corbett re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944 October 11
2/14
Letter from Henry L. Corbett to Oregon State Tax Commission re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1943 October 26
2/15
"Academic Instruction for Aviation Students"
1944 March
2/16
Notice of Elliott Ruggles Corbett II's addition to Thatcher School Honor List
1937 November 10
2/17
Notice of address change for Private Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944 September 14
2/18
Postcard from First Methodist Church of Alexandria, Louisiana to Corbett Family
Postcard sent to inform Corbetts to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II had attended the church on June 4, 1944.
1944 June 6
2/19
Returned envelope addressed to Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
Unclear which letter had been in envelope.
1944 October
2/20
Shooting range score card for Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
circa 1944
Subseries 2 : Correspondence concerning Elliott Ruggles Corbett II's status
Letters sent to and from the Corbett family during the time when Elliott Ruggles Corbett II was listed as missing in action, and following news of his death. Primarily arranged alphabetically by surname of non-Corbett correspondent. In most cases, the Corbett family correspondent is Henry L. Corbett.
Box/Folder
2/21
Correspondence within Corbett family
1944 December 6 - 1945 April 4
2/22
Correspondence, A-D
1944 December - 1945 July 20
2/23
Correspondence, Alex H. Ardrey, Jr.
Includes copies of letters sent to Ardrey by Chaplain Harold C. Lamb.
1944 December 13 - 1945 April 12
3/1
Correspondence, David W. Bailey
Also includes blank form sent by Bailey to Henry L. Corbett.
1945 January 29 - May 4
3/2
Correspondence, Kern Crandall
1944 December 8 - 1945 April 20
3/3
Correspondence, Cleveland Dodge
1944 December 8 - 1945 April 13
3/4
Correspondence, E-K
1944 December - 1945 September 14
3/5
Correspondence, Harvard University clubs/organizations
Primarily consists of letters Henry L. Corbett sent, informing the organizations as to Elliott Corbett II's status.
1944 December 9 - 1945 April 13
3/6
Correspondence, Alfred O. Hoyt
1944 December 8 - 1945 April 23
3/7
Correspondence, L-R
1944 December 7 - 1945 June 27
3/8
Correspondence, Harold C. Lamb
1944 December 28 - 1945 May 21
3/9
Correspondence, Macadam family
Primarily Iverson Macadam.
1944 December 13 - 1945 April 16
3/10
Correspondence, Sherman Miles
1944 December 12 - 1945 April 12
3/11
Correspondence, Wayne Morse
1945 January 25 - April 23
3/12
Correspondence, Arthur W. and Mollie Page
1945 January 31 - April 2
3/13
Correspondence, Henry G. Reed
1944 December 12 - 1945 April 13
11/3
Letter of condolence from President Franklin D. Roosevelt
1945
3/14
Correspondence, S-Z
Includes correspondence between Sudie Zinser and Henry L. and Helen Corbett, and a returned October 1944 envelope sent by Zinser.
1944 October - 1945 September 14
3/15
Correspondence, Lamar Tooze
1944 December 12 - 1945 April 28
3/16
Correspondence, J. A. Ulio
1944 December 11 - 1945 March 19
3/17
Correspondence, Wyman family.
Primarily Oliver Wyman, Jr.
1944 December - 1945 June 11
4/1
Correspondence, other
Contains letter co-signed by Major Capon and Mrs. V. Jensen, and letter only signed "M."
1945 April 7-24
4/2
Notice of Elliott Ruggles Corbett II's receipt of Purple Heart
1945 July 11
4/3
Historical Explanation of Purple Heart
Originally taped to back of frame containing Purple Heart certificate.
1945 January 31
4/4
Telegrams from U.S. War Department concerning Elliott Ruggles Corbett II's status
1944 December 6, 1945 April 5
Subseries 3 : Hamilton F. Corbett
Primarily consists of typescripts of letters which Hamilton Forbush Corbett sent while serving in World War I, mostly to his mother Helen Ladd Corbett. Also contains typescripts of some letters sent to Corbett, and documents relating to his service. Dates indicate when original document was written; unknown when typescript copies were made.
Box/Folder
4/5
Letter from Hamilton F. Corbett to Henry L. Corbett
The only original handwritten letter by Hamilton Corbett in the collection. Typescript verson in 4/11.
1918 February 7
4/6
Typescripts of letters from Hamilton F. Corbett
1917 September - December
4/7
Typescripts of letters from Hamilton F. Corbett
1918 January-June
4/8
Typescripts of letters from Hamilton F. Corbett
Includes August 1, 1918 letter wherein Corbett describes being wounded during the Second Battle of the Marne along the Ourcq River, and November 19, 1918 letter wherein he notes where he was when news of the Armistice reached him.
1918 July-November 19
4/9
Typescripts of letters from Hamilton F. Corbett
1918 November 25 - 1919 April 3
4/10
Typescripts of letters by Douglas MacArthur and Charles T. Menonor
1918 November 11-15
4/11
Typescripts of letters from J. A. Harbord to Hamilton F. Corbett
1919 August 12 - 1920 April 25
Box/Folder
4/12
Henry L. Corbett - Correspondence re Oregon Senate Bill No. 10
1943 January
4/13
Letter from Henry L. Corbett to Lucy Corbett
1944 September 27
4/14
Letter from Henry L. Corbett to Harold F. Wendel
1943 July 30
4/15
Letters from Henry L. Corbett, Jr.
1944
4/16
Letter from Nancy Corbett to Gretchen Corbett
circa 1943 December
4/17
Letters from Alfred O. Hoyt to Gretchen Corbett
1916-1919
4/18
Letter from Frankling Knight Lane to Henry L. Corbett
Letter inviting Corbett to attend a conference on means by which to "Americanize" foreign-born workers in the United States.
1918 March 13
4/19
Typescripts of letters from "MAC" to Corbett family
Letters sent by woman who attended Versailles Peace Conference. Woman's full name and exact relationship to Corbett family are unclear.
1919 April 20-May 8
5/1
Letters from Sherman Miles to Gretchen Corbett
1912-1915
5/2
Letters from Sherman Miles to Gretchen Corbett
Includes letters wherein Miles details his work on the "Coolidge Mission" after World War II and his role in determining the Austro-Yugoslavian border.
1917-1919
5/3
Correspondence between Corbett and Neame families
Letters exchanged between the English couple Humphrey and Elizabeth Neame, and Henry L. and Gretchen Corbett, primarily while the Neames' sons John and Colin were boarding with the Corbetts.
1940-1941
5/4
Correspondence between Corbett and Neame families
Includes two letters sent by John Neame after his return to England.
1942-1943
5/5
Letter from Robert T. Rankin to Gretchen Corbett
1918 March 2
5/6
Letters from Roselier family to Gretchen Corbett
Letters are in French.
1918 November 24
5/7
Letter from Elton Watkins granting Gretchen Corbett access to Justice Department offices
1918 October 11

Series B :   Finances and Property ,  1902-1979 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
10/4
Appraisal of Henry L. Corbett's property
1915
Subseries 1 : Corbett Estate development
Box/Folder
5/8
Handwritten notes about Corbett Estate development
circa 1965
5/9
Handwritten notes about Corbett property
1965
5/10
Correspondence and records re Corbett Estate development
1977 May-July
5/11
Correspondence and records re Corbett Estate development
1977 November
5/12
Letter from Alfred Hoyt Corbett to C. Ralph Walstrom re land exchange
1965 January 15
11/9
Plan of Abernethy Heights area
undated
Oversize 1
Plans for Corbett estates
1979
Oversize 2
Plan of Gretchen Corbett property
1960
11/10
Sketch of Corbett property
undated
Box/Folder
5/13
Correspondence and records re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II's Harvard University bills
1940-1943
5/14
Receipts of payment re Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1944
5/15
Notes about photo order
1941
5/16
Telegrams and document re readjustment of Columbia Basin Wool Warehouse Company
1921 May-June
7/1
Gretchen H. Corbett - Transfer ledger
1908-1939
7/2
Gretchen H. Corbett - Transfer ledger
1940-1953
7/3
Henry L. Corbett - Financial record book
1957
8/1
Henry L. Corbett - Ledger
1902-1913
8/2
Henry L. Corbett - Ledger
1903-1915
10/1
Title abstract fpr Abernethy Heights property
1915
10/2
Title abstract for Palatine Hill property
1915
10/3
Title Abstract, will, guardianship documents, etc.
1905-1924
Subseries 2 : Water development
Documents relating to irrigation and water power projects which Henry L. Corbett undertook on Jack Creek (a tributary of the Metolius River) and the Crooked River.
Box/Folder
5/17
Envelope noting water applications
circa 1920
6/1
Correspondence and paperwork re Crooked River Development (Application 3397)
1917-1926
6/2
Correspondence and paperwork re Jack Creek Development (Application 7180)
1920
6/3
Correspondence and paperwork re Jack Creek Development (Permit 6997)
1925-1927
6/4
Documents relating to Deschutes River water rights court case
1921-1928
11/11
Map made of Jack Creek area
circa 1920
6/5
Annual statements and payments for water development
1920-1939
6/6
Annual statements and payments for water development
1940-1956

Series C :   Certificates and ephemera ,  1915-1954 Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6/7
Belgian ration cards
Provenance unknown.
1915 January
6/8
"Cavalcade of Front Avenue"
1941
11/4
Purple Heart Certificate for Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
1945 July 11
11/5
Certificate for Hamilton F. Corbett's officer's commission
1917 August 15
6/9
Newspaper article quoting from Hamilton F. Corbett letter
1918 February 10
11/6
Certificate appointing Henry L. Corbett to Commission of the Port of Portland
1943 January 23
11/7
Certificate to Henry L. and Gretchen Corbett for their sponsorhip of American Field Service car 898, with accompanying letter
1919
11/8
Citation for Henry L. Corbett for Crusade for Freedom, with Henry Ford II's business card
1954
Subseries 1 : Clippings and newspapers
Box/Folder
6/10
Oregonian clipping about Henry L. Corbett
1930 January 6
6/11
Baltimore Sun article about paratroopers
1943 August 29
6/12
Oregon Journal clipping on address of Philippe Pétain's address
1918 November
6/13
Clippings of images relating to World War I
Includes illustration depicting battle in which Hamilton F. Corbett was wounded, with handwritten notes providing context.
undated
6/14
Harvard Military Intelligence issue
Issues notes death of Elliott Ruggles Corbett II.
1945 May 12
6/15
The Thatcher Notes issue
1938 March 25
Box/Folder
11/1
Leather case
Case used to house typescripts of letters sent by Hamilton F. Corbett during World War I. See Series A, Subseries 3 for the letters.
6/16
Notes to and by Henry L. Corbett
1945
6/17
Notes and receipts
1944 July
6/18
Typescript translation of Philippe Pétain's address to French armies
undated

Series D :   Certificates and ephemera ,  1862-1956 Return to Top

Materials in this series arranged in roughly chronological order.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
9/1
View down Front Street from Washington Street, Portland
1862 June
9/2
Portland Academy students, including Henry L. Corbett
circa 1897
9/3
American Field Service ambulance
circa 1918
9/4
Postcards of Luxembourg
Enclosed with Hamilton F. Corbett's November 25, 1918 letter.
1918
9/5
Images taken at Corbett ranch at Metolius, Oregon
Printouts from scans of negatives in 12/1.
circa 1920
12/1
Negatives taken at Corbett Ranch, Metolius, Oregon
Access to this folder is restricted. Facsimiles located in 9/5.
circa 1920
9/6
Tent at unidentified location
circa 1920
9/7
Views of Mt. Washington and Three Sisters from "M"'s residence
circa 1920
9/8
Corbett family
circa 1925
9/9
Portrait of Henry L. Corbett
circa 1925
9/10
Portrait of Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
Portrait by Sargent Studio in Boston, Massachusetts. Folder also houses envelope and brochure.
1940
11/2
Portrait of Elliott Ruggles Corbett II
circa 1942
9/11
Homestead Peak, Colorado
Enclosed in Alfred H. Corbett's June 7, 1943 letter to Helen Corbett.
1943 April
9/12
Alfred H. Corbett clumbing a cliff at Camp Hale, Colorado
1943 July
9/13
Postcards from the Netherlands
circa 1950
9/14
Elliott Ruggles Corbett II's gave in the Netherlands
circa 1950
9/15
Snapshots of Corbett and Ardrey families
1956 November 11