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Personal papers of Robert L. Gilbert

Call Number: PP 253


Robert Gilbert's collection includes a compilation of letters he wrote while in France during World War I serving as a mechanic in the Navy. It also includes his personal scrapbook of articles from WWI. Correspondence and personal items from Gilbert's professional career are included as well.


  • 1898 - 1987


Language of Materials

English; French

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Robert L. Gilbert

Robert Leigh Gilbert was born in 1898 in Lawrence, Kansas. He completed high school in 3 years and went to work to support his family doing odd jobs. Gilbert joined the Navy in 1917 and served during World War I as an airplane mechanic. He was deployed to France for a year and was honorably discharged in 1919. Gilbert continued his studies at the University of Kansas from 1919-1923, graduating with a degree in Journalism. Gilbert was very involved in activities during his time at KU including ROTC, Sigma Delta Chi, cheerleader, and yearbook photographer. Gilbert married Mariam Meader in 1923 and had two children, Robert Jr. and Mariam Leigh. They divorced and Gilbert married Josephine Gill in 1939.

Gilbert had many occupations over his career, including newspaper reporter and editor, partner of an engineering firm, owner of Gilbert Citrus Groves, manager of the Robstown Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Civil Air Patrol and First Class mission pilot. Gilbert had active interests in many fields including journalism, aviation, and political activism. He was a member of numerous organizations including World War I Veterans Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Pilots Association, Airline Passengers Association, Texas Flying Farmers, Delta Upsilon, and Masons, among others.


1 linear foot (1 box + 1 oversize box)

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a scrapbook of newspaper articles, clippings, and photographs of memorabilia from World War I. It incorporates letters from Gilbert to his family while he performed various jobs as well as while he served in the Navy in France during WWI. The collection also includes various letters and personal items, including grades and memorabilia from his time as a student at the University of Kansas. The collection is also comprised of items from Gilbert's professional career such as newspaper articles along with pamphlets from the Republican Party and Republican National Convention. The oversize box contains a poster advertising a speech given by the governor of Connecticut, written by Gilbert.

Physical Location

PP 253

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Robert Gilbert, 1980

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Separated Materials

Gilbert's scrapbook kept while a student from 1919-1923.

Robert L. Gilbert, Scrapbook, located in Student Activities
Guide to the Robert L. Gilbert Collection
Personal papers of Robert L. Gilbert
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005; revised by skt, 2010; revised by cmh, 2011; Finding aid encoded by ad, 2005; revised by skt, 2010; revised by cmh, 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Robert L. Gilbert Collection, University Archives, PP 253, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States