The Bernard G. Corbin Award

Bernard Gerald Corbin
April 28, 1907 -- January 30, 1988


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.


Corbin Award Recipients



October 8, 1988 - Jim Miller
October 10, 1992 - Rod (Bat) Masterson
October 10, 1992 - F. Hol Wagner
September 17, 1999 - David Lotz
September 20, 2003 - Jim Singer
October 14, 2006 - George Spier
September 10, 2011 - Lee Hastman
September 15, 2012 - Mike Spoor
September 13, 2014 - Gene Tacey
September 21, 2019 - Chuck Zeiler

Jim Miller (right)

George Speir

Mike Spoor

Chuck Zeiler



Rod (Bat) Masterson (left)
F. Hol Wagner (right)

David Lotz (right)

Lee Hastman

Jim Singer (left)