Bernard was born in the southwestern Iowa community of New Market, and took his first railroad photo in December, 1920 at the
age of 13. It depicted a two-car passenger local, powered by an A-2 4-4-0, making a station stop at the New Market depot. After
graduating high school in 1925, he moved 27 miles north to Red Oak and went to work for the Thomas D. Murphy Company, one of the
America's largest producers of calendars. He retired in 1975 after more than 50 years with the firm, during which time he had
printed the Burlington's popular calendar each year until the BN merger of 1970.
A life member of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), Bernie was active in the Mid-Continent Region and won many
NMRA model contests. He was featured in Model Railroader magazine several times, winning the publication's Model of the Month
award twice. He also won Best of Show and Best Steam Locomotive awards in BRHS model contests. He custom-built many locomotives
for O-scalers all acroiss the country in addition to his own. His most frequently modeled prototype: the Q's attractive S-4
Hudsons, of which he completed a dozen 1/4-inch scale replicas.
His interest in the Burlington and its affiliates led him to amass a voluminous collection of photographs (both his own and
those of others) and historical material over the years. By the 1940's he was already known far and wide as the authority
on Burlington equipment and operations. His expertise eventually led him to author and publish three landmark volumes on his
favorite railroad: Steam Locomotives of the Burlington Route in 1960,
Burlington in Transition in 1967 and Across Iowa on the Keokuk & Western and Humeston &
Shenandoah Railroads in 1996. While his good friends Bill Kerka and Joe Hardy served as co-authors on these works, the bulk
of the material came from Corbin's extensive collection.
Following the formation of the BRHS, Bernie became an active member and contributor. Virtually all of the society's Burlington
Bulletins have contained material supplied by Corbin or his collection, now entrusted to Hol Wagner, our Bulletin
Editor Emeritus. On April 30, 1983, at a special meeting of the society, held in Red Oak, Bernie was presented with a plaque
naming him as the first honorary lifetime member of the BRHS in recognition of his innumerable contributions to the preservation
of Burlington history.
Bernard past away in his home in Red Oak, Iowa, on January 30, 1988 at the age of 80.