Fanny Dunbar Corbusier
Recollections of Her Army Life, 1869–1908
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
368 Pages | 6 x 9 | 24 b&w illus., 1 map
Born in Baltimore in 1838, Fanny Dunbar grew up in Louisiana to a family who survived the hardships of the Civil War. An intelligent, sensitive woman, Fanny experienced a radical life change when she met William Henry Corbusier, a Yankee officer and army surgeon. Her memoir recounts their subsequent forty-eight year marriage.
The events of Fanny’s life are sometimes amusing but more often dramatic. The Corbusiers moved frequently, but Fanny made moving an art form, often selling all the family possessions to avoid high shipping rates. She learned to cope with primitive living conditions and harsh climates. She raised five sons at posts with no schools. But Fanny took her job as a mother seriously, providing her sons with a broad education and a nurturing home.
Corbusier’s long life and her husband’s thirty-nine-year career in the army (recounted in his memoir Soldier, Surgeon, Scholar) allow the reader to experience the period between the Civil War and World War I in totality, including her exceptional memories of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection.
As the recollections of two people whose lives played out against a world panorama, Fanny and William’s memoirs together provide a rare opportunity to examine events of frontier military life from both male and female perspectives.
"Mrs. Corbusier writes from the unique perspective of a surgeon’s wife, and we have a picture not only of an army wife, but of an army wife who saw many different aspects of frontier military life and frontier life in general."—Charles M. Robinson, author of General Crook and the Western Frontier and A Good Year to Die: The Story of the Great Sioux War
"Of the memoirs penned by wives of nineteenth-century army officers, this is among the best and most detailed. The woman’s perspective of events that transpired in the Indian-fighting army is a much needed counterbalance to the male-dominated histories of these same events."—Darlis Miller, author of Mary Hallock Foote: Author-Illustrator of the American West
Fanny Dunbar Corbusier was the career army wife of officer-surgeon William Henry Corbusier. Patricia Y. Stallard, retired federal civil servant and education specialist with the United States Navy Recruiting Command, is the author of Glittering Misery: Dependents of the Indian Fighting Army, published by the University of Oklahoma Press.