William C. Herbert was the youngest of three sons born to Ernestine Herbert and her husband, whose name is not mentioned in the collection. Correspondence between William (Bill) and his mother indicates that Bill's father died some time prior to where the papers begin. Most of what is presently known about Ernestine Herbert and her sons derives from the correspondence in this collection, some photographs, and online census and social security records.
Born in 1923, Bill grew up in East Orange, New Jersey; later the family moved to New York where his mother continued to live after the three sons were gone. Bill and his two brothers, Ernest and Jack, were all in the armed forces at the same time, although near the end of World War II Jack was around 34 years old--over ten years older than Bill.
During that time, Jack was already married to a woman named Margie who lived with or near the boys' mother in New York. According to various online sources, Ernest married a woman named Sarah but it appears that Bill did not get married. At least there is not evidence in the papers to suggest otherwise.
After the war, Bill apparently traveled quite a bit, and then sometime in the 1950s received a degree in Social Studies from the University of Southern California. There is mention in a 1956 issue of the Daily Trojan that Bill was president of the USC Chapter of the California Student Teachers Association, and there are photos in the collection of Bill with the other members of the Board at a conference in Santa Barbara. Through miscellaneous photos and ephemera in the collection, it can be deduced that he was also working for TWA during that time, though his job position isn't entirely clear. It seemed also that at least for a time after USC, Bill was teaching high school. Through photos of his home in various parts of the country, it appears as though Bill moved a lot in addition to his vacation adventures.
William C. Herbert died in 1993 at 70 years old; Ernest died in San Diego in 2009 at 88. No records indicating birth or death dates for Jack or Ernestine, their mother, could readily be found.