Bertha Martin

Theater instructor

Bertha Martin Bertha Martin was influential in theater at UNI from 1905-1929. She introduced a new method of acting, focusing on more natural and human movements. In addition to directing, she also trained those students interested in public speaking contests and expanded the course offerings in drama. Professor Martin was well-liked and well-thought of by both her students and her peers. She died after a short struggle with pneumonia in 1929. The entire campus felt the loss of this gifted teacher. Her obituary follows. It was published in the Chariton Herald-Patriot on Thursday, February 7, 1929.  


Old time friends here were greatly saddened by the news of the death of Miss Bertha Martin, which occurred at Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Thursday afternoon, January 31, 1929, after an illness of about eight days with flu and pneumonia. Funeral services were held at the First Presbyterian church in Cedar falls on Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday the remains were brought to Chariton and taken to the Dunshee Funeral Home, and on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, interment took place in the Chariton cemetery, a brief service being conducted at the grave by Rev. Frederick Nichol, of the First Presbyterian church.

Miss Bertha Martin was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Martin, and was born at Hopeville, Clarke County, Iowa. When about three and a half years old she came with her parents to Chariton, Iowa, where she grew to young womanhood. She graduated from the Chariton high school and for several years taught in the Chariton schools. From here she went to Chicago where she attended the Columbia School of Oratory, from which she later graduated, and then taught for some time in that institution. While there President Seerley, of the Iowa State College at Cedar Falls, visited the school and recognized her abilities and at once secured her to head the dramatics department at the Iowa College. She had filled that position at Cedar Falls for twenty-four years, and if she had been permitted to live and teach another year she would have rounded out fifty years of service as a teacher.

A memorial service will be held tomorrow at the chapel at Cedar Falls College and many former students and friends from a distance will assemble at that place to pay tribute to her memory. She was an unusually capable woman and a wonderful teacher, and the many students whom she had instructed held her in high regard. It is said that her place at Cedar Falls will be hard to fill. She is survived by one sister, Mrs. James H. Stewart, of Wichita, Kansas, who with her husband, was with her during her last illness, and by one brother, George Martin, of Kansas City, Mo., who has been ill and was unable to be here. The remains were accompanied to Chariton by Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, and by a close friend of the deceased, Miss Hazel Strayer, who is now a student at Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut, and who was formerly associated with Miss Martin at Cedar Falls and was one of her assistants.