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Scott Corbett papers

Biographical note

Winfield Scott Corbett was born on July 27, 1913 in Kansas City, Missouri. After graduation from high school in 1930 he attended Kansas City Junior College and the University of Missouri-Columbia. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in journalism in 1934 and moved to New York City, where he worked as a freelance writer.

Elizabeth Corbett was born in Dachau, Germany in 1911. Her parents, Justin and Susan Esberg, had moved from California to Germany so that her father could study medicine in Munich. The family returned to California sometime before 1920. Elizabeth graduated from Mills College in Sacramento in 1932 and received her Master of Social Work degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work in 1943.

On May 11, 1940 Scott and Elizabeth were married. They had one daughter, Florence, now known as Jane Corbett Flusser.

Scott was inducted into the United States Army in September 1942 and was ordered to report to active duty in August 1943. He was assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division, known as the Rainbow Division. After training at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, the division left for France in January 1945.

While in the Army, Scott was on the staff of the division's official newspaper the Rainbow Reveille . He also worked as a correspondent for the Army's official newspaper overseas, Stars and Stripes , and was the last editor of Yank: The Army Weekly.

On April 29, 1945, units of the 42nd division liberated the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany. Scott was one of the first journalists on the scene. His account of the liberation of Dachau in the Rainbow Reveille is part of the division's official history.

After Scott was discharged from the Army in 1946 he and his family moved to New York City, where Scott continued his career as a writer and Elizabeth worked as a social worker. In 1950 Scott published his first book, The Reluctant Landlord, based on his and Elizabeth's experience in renting part of their home in New York City. In 1951 the book was made into a movie called The Love Nest, which included Marilyn Monroe in the supporting cast. That year the Corbetts moved to East Dennis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. While there Scott published several novels for adults and wrote his first book for children, Susie Sneakers, in 1956.

After the family moved to Providence in 1957 Scott taught English at the Moses Brown School and continued to write books for children. In 1962 his book Cutlass Island won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for the best mystery for children. In 1976 his book The Home Run Trick won the Mark Twain Award, which is sponsored by the Missouri Association of School Librarians.

Scott left his teaching position at Moses Brown in the late 1960's. He continued to write while he and Elizabeth traveled extensively. Altogether he published at least sixty-seven fiction and non-fiction books for children.

Elizabeth Corbett passed away on November 21, 1990. Scott passed away on March 6, 2006, in Providence, Rhode Island, at the age of ninety-two.