Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:

Biographies of Prominent Quebec and Canadian

Historical Figures


Percy Ellwood Corbett



Damien-Claude Bélanger,

Department of History,

McGill University

Jurist and soldier, was born at Tyne Valley, Prince Edward Island. He was educated at Quebec's Huntingdon Academy and at McGill University. After receiving his M.A. in 1915, Corbett was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, but postponed it to serve with great distinction as an officer in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France . Severely injured at the Battle of the Somme, he was awarded the Military Cross. After the Great War he resumed his studies at Oxford University and was a Fellow of All Souls College from 1920 to 1927. During that time he served as an assistant legal advisor to the League of Nation's International Labour Office and obtained a Licence ès droit from the Sorbonne. In 1924 he was appointed professor of Roman law at McGill University's Faculty of Law. One of the Faculty's rising stars, Corbett served as its Dean from 1928 until 1936. Under his direction, the Faculty of Law recruited both F. R. Scott and John P. Humphrey as professors. Serving briefly as McGill's acting principal, Corbett continued to teach Roman and International law until 1942, when he left Canada and joined the faculty of Yale University . He became an American citizen in 1947. From 1951 to 1958 Corbett taught at Princeton University's Center for International Studies. He spent the rest of his career teaching at the University of Virginia and at Lehigh University. An international jurist who frequently argued for a Canadian-American rapprochement, P. E. Corbett authored a volume on The Settlement of Canadian-American Disputes (1937) in the series of twenty-five studies on Canadian-American relations sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and attended three of the conferences on Canadian-American affairs organized by the Endowment between 1935 and 1941. In the October 1930 issue of the Dalhousie Review he published Canada's first in-depth scholarly examination of anti-Americanism.




© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College