Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Brooks and Melba Labbe Caldwell Collection, 1851-1985

Biographical Note:

Born in 1902 and raised in Fresno, California, Brooks Caldwell entered Oregon Agricultural College in 1922 and received a BS from the School of Pharmacy in 1925. On campus, Brooks was a member of the Tau Delta Fraternity and the Rho Chi Honorary Society. After a brief stint in teaching after graduation, Caldwell went on to operate two pharmacies in the Portland area. In 1942, the year that he married Melba Labbe, Brooks also entered military service. He died in 1987.

Born in 1903 to an old and well-established Portland merchant family, Melba Labbe worked as a sculptor's model beginning in her teens. In 1925, she served as the model for a series of 32 statues featured as a part of the annual Rose Festival celebration that were installed in downtown Portland. During World War II, Melba enlisted with the Oregon Women's Ambulance Corps and the Women's Army Corps. Shortly after marriage to Brooks in 1942, Melba started up a flower shop in Portland called Labbe Flowers and later Flowers by Melba. In addition to her business, Melba was involved in the organization "Daughters of the Nile." She died in 1967.

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