Papers, 1915-2005

Papers, 1915-2005

Mixed Material
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The Irma Cayton Wertz Papers include official military documents and correspondence, Wertz's own memoir manuscripts about her WAC army experience, and nearly ninety photographs of her and her WAC compatriots at Forts Des Moines, Huachuca, and Lewis (1942-1945). The military correspondence includes her appeal to WAC Command Headquarters for assistance in getting appropriate assignments for the women in her unit. A generous clippings file provides dates and legal context for her years served in the military as well as rosters of African American unit members by name. The clippings, some from the Pittsburgh Courier, include Irma Cayton interviews or statements in which she discussed her strong feeling that it was her patriotic duty to serve in the WAAC/WAC. The few serial publications from Fort Huachuca provide further views of personnel and activities at the post. The photographs, many taken by the U.S. Army's Signal Corps at the various posts, provide a rare view of African American military history, particularly of Fort Huachuca. Some photograph subjects cannot be identified by name at this time. Memorabilia of interest include Irma Cayton's membership card to the Women's Defense Corps of America, Chicago Chapter, 1942. Throughout the collection, particularly in both clippings and photographs, the researcher will find reference to names of African American women who went on to serve with distinction, including overseas, such as Charity Adams Early, Violet Ward Askins Hill, Mildred Carter, Mary Kearney, Harriet West, Ruth Wade, and Dovey Johnson Roundtree.
Characteristics: 6 linear feet.

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