Skip to main content

Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz Collection

Identifier: WV 0523

Scope and Contents

The collection includes an official photograph of Wertz and other African American Women's Army Corps, a Red Cross worker, and one enlisted man pose, circa 1942-1945; a small photograph of African American WAC members and soldiers at a dance, circa 1942-1945; a postcard photograph of WAC's in mess hall, circa 1942-1945; a small photograph of soldier's dining, circa 1943-1945; a small photograph of Wertz cutting cake, circa 1942-1945; a Ninth Service Command Official photo of two WAC's receiving their gear, circa 1942-1945; a photograph of WAC's working with U.S. Army Signal Corps, circa 1942-1945; a photograph of two WAAC's drivers servicing an army truck, December 1942; an official photograph of African American WAAC's marching, circa 1942; a typed letter from Wertz to her mother discussing Company 1907 and her time with the Women's Army Corps, 28 February 1945.


  • 1942-1945
  • Other: Date acquired: 05/01/2007


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.

Biographical Note

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.


0.42 Linear Feet (2 boxes (1 unprocessed))

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


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

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Kassandra Ettefagh, November 2014.

Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz Collection
Kassandra Ettefagh
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US