Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz Collection
Scope and Contents
The collection includes nine photographs of African American officers and enlisted members of the Women's Army Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) and the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. The collection also includes a 28 February 1945 letter from Wertz to her mother in which she discusses her experiences in the military.
- 1942 - 1945
- Other: Date acquired: 05/01/2007
- Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.
Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz was born 8 May 1911 in Brunswick, Georgia to a military family. Her father was a physician and served during World War I. She attended Atlanta and Fisk Universities, and while at school met her future husband Horace R. Cayton. They were married in 1935 in Chicago and would divorce and remarry again before their final divorce during the war.
In 1942, she entered the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) as part of the first Officer Training School for African American Women. Upon completion of her training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, Wertz was briefly stationed at WAAC Headquarters in Washington, D.C., before being reassigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona and the Thirty-second WAAC (later, WAC) Post Headquarters Company. While at Fort Huachuca, Wertz fought for better assignments for WACs, who were frequently given assignments unequal to their skills and training. In 1944 she was promoted to Captain and relocated to Fort Lewis, Washington as commander of a WAC unit there. She was discharged upon the end of the war, in 1945.
Wertz met her second husband, William Jackson Wertz, while at Fort Huachuca. They married in 1944, and after the war moved to Mexico City. Under the GI Bill, Wertz returned to school to obtain a second master's degree while her husband studied to be a doctor. Their son Jack was born in 1948. In 1954 the family settled in Detroit, Michigan, where Wertz became an active volunteer. She was president of the Detroit Council of the Parent Teacher Association, served on the board of the Detroit Repertory Theatre, and also volunteered with the Visiting Nurses Association and the Detroit Receiving Hospital Service League. She died on 20 February 2007.
0.20 Linear Feet (2 boxes (1 unprocessed))
Language of Materials
Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz (1911-2007) of Detroit, Michigan, served as an officer in African American units of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and later the Women's Army Corps (WAC) from 1942-1945.
The collection is made up of nine photographs and one letter from Wertz to her mother.
Method of Acquisition
Purchased from ebay vendor Bosch Books.
Offensive Language Statement
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Processed by Kassandra Ettefagh, November 2014.
- Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz Collection
- Kassandra Ettefagh
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