The Gertrude Margaritte Ivory Bertram Collection covers the service of one African American nurse in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Bertram was born in Clarksville, Georgia on February 17, 1916. She attended nursing school at the Brewster Hospital and School of Nurse Training in Jacksonville, Florida, which was the first African American hospital in the United States. She then enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 1, 1941 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While in the Army, Bertram served as a ward nurse in Fort Bragg and later in the West African theater.
Her collection includes numerous photographs depicting herself and her fellow nurses in uniform, as well as African American G.I.s, and a few photographs from her time in West Africa. Her collection also includes an oral history transcript, personal items, newspaper clippings, and manuscripts. This collection is important, as it covers the unique experiences of women and African Americans during World War II, and offers insight that differs from the majority white male G.I. perspective. It depicts African American nurses in both a professional setting, and a casual setting as Bertram enjoyed downtime with her friends.
This collection is one of many at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience that offers perspective on Army nurses and African Americans during the war. Portions of the Bertram Collection are now available online through DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository and you can see more information about the collection in its finding aid.
Post was written by two guest authors:
Lee Morrison has been involved with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience since Summer 2018. After graduation, he will pursue a Master’s Degree in Medieval History at Florida State University.
Gillian Morton has been involved with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience since Spring 2016. After graduation, she will pursue a Master’s Degree in Information Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.