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William C. Herbert papers

Identifier: 0398

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Scope and Content

This collection centers around USC alumnus William C. Herbert, although most of the collection's contents refer to his time in Europe during World War II, and the photographs are mainly those of family and friends and vacation travels from the 1950s through the 1980s.


  • Creation: 1930s-1990s


Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical Note

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.


2.1 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



The William C. Herbert papers was brought to USC during the 1990s via Associate Dean for Development and Law School Historian John (Tom) Tomlinson whose expertise includes the history of USC. Though the collection's focus is the correspondence between Herbert and his mother during World War II when he was overseas, at some point later, Herbert studied and graduated from USC with a B.S. in Social Studies. His graduation photo is in the 1957 edition of USC's El Rodeo


The collection is organized into seven small series, and arranged mainly chronologically within each series.

Finding Aid of the William C. Herbert papers
Jacqueline Morin and Tiffany Chu
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States