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Bertrand Brown Collection

By Collections Curator Ruth Bitner
November 2012

Bertrand G. Brown and Bill Ardley, 1936
Bertrand Brown Collection, WDM

The Bertrand Brown collection of photographs is the latest WDM collection to be digitized and added to the Saskatchewan History Online (SHO) website. SHO is a project of the University of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Education, Government of Saskatchewan, working in cooperation with the Saskatchewan Digital Alliance. The goal of SHO is to make material from Saskatchewan galleries, libraries, archives and museums available online - including some from the WDM.

Bertrand Gavin Brown was born in 1908 in Saskatoon, SK. His father, David Brown homesteaded in the Glenhurst district about six miles north of Bounty, SK. The family moved to the homestead soon after Bertrand was born. Several moves later and a few years after the accidental death in 1926 of his father, Bertrand and the rest of the family returned to Saskatoon where he enrolled in Normal School even before finishing his Grade XII. When times got tough in the 1930s, the family moved back to the Ardath area where Bertrand finished his grade XII and obtained his teaching certificate. The family moved again, this time to Biggar where Bertrand found work with local farmers.

About 1935 Bertrand answered an ad in the Prairie Messenger for a teaching position in northern Saskatchewan at Cumberland House. After a 90 mile freight canoe trip upriver from The Pas, Bertrand arrived in Cumberland House. Bertrand stayed in Cumberland House until he moved to Beauval in 1939. He stayed there until called up for military service in spring, 1942. Bertrand signed up at Saskatoon on July 8, 1942. After a brief stint in Regina, it was on to basic training in Prince Albert. By early 1943 Bertrand was on his way to Europe aboard a troop ship that left from New York. After more than two years in Europe, Bertrand was discharged at war’s end in Regina on December 18, 1945.

Returning to Saskatoon Bertrand took advantage of educational opportunities for returned veterans and enrolled in the University of Saskatchewan. However, he did not pass and returned to teaching, this time as vice-principal of Luseland high school. Things did not work out there so he resigned and accepted at job at St. Matthews School, Fulda, SK beginning in January, 1947.

Bertrand married Rose Nenzel in July, 1948. From Fulda, Bertrand and Rose moved to Muenster where he took a teaching job at St. Francis School about 1950. He resigned from St. Francis and took a job at Hoffman School near Bruno in 1951. The next year he moved on to Burr, about 15 miles from Humboldt. His next stop was St. Michael’s Indian School at Duck Lake, beginning in the fall of 1954. Bertrand remained there until his retirement in June, 1973.

The above information was gleaned from Bertrand’s memoirs, My Log Book of Memories in the George Shepherd Library, WDM Curatorial Centre.

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