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Sister Rosalie Bertell papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0238

Scope and Contents

Collection contains the personal and professional papers of Sister Rosalie Bertell, GNSH, PhD, especially concerning her work as public health advocate. Notable topics include nuclear radiation, depleted uranium, low dose in veterans, the Gulf War, and cancer research. The collection also contains research for Sister Rosalie's books and other written works. Both analog and digital formats are included.


  • 1912-2015


Language of Materials

English .

Terms of Access and Use

The Sister Rosalie Bertell papers, 1972-2015 are open to researchers.

Please note: This collection is stored off-site. Access to collection requires 3 business days' notice. Contact to schedule an appointment.

This collection has been minimally processed. Privacy protected information (including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and/or personnel records) may be revealed during use of archival collections, particularly in collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.


Pursuant to University Archives' Restricted Records Policy on patient and medical records, access to Box 13, folders 5-7, is RESTRICTED until 50 years after the date of death, or 100 years from the date of creation if the date of death is unknown. For more information, contact University Archives at

Content Warning

This collection may contain offensive, harmful, or misrepresentative creator-supplied language or imagery. The views and opinions expressed are those of the creator’s and do not reflect or represent the University Archives. In keeping with archival best practice, this content has been retained to preserve the historical context of the records.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and University Archives before requesting photocopies and/or publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Once permission is obtained, most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Sister Rosalie Bertell, GNSH, PhD, (1929-2012), was an internationally recognized environmental epidemiologist, cancer researcher and public health advocate. She was the daughter of Paul G. Bertell and Helen Twohey Bertell of Buffalo, NY.

Sister Rosalie earned her BA in math and physics education from D'Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. She entered the Carmelite Community in Buffalo in 1951, but her health prevented her from continuing beyond 1956. She served on the faculty of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., for a year. From Catholic University, she received a master's degree in mathematics and philosophy and a doctorate in mathematics, biology, and biometrics. Sister Rosalie entered the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in 1958.

Sister Rosalie was an associate professor of mathematics at D'Youville College from 1969 to 1973 and served for eight years as a senior cancer research scientist at Roswell Park from 1970 to 1978. She also was an assistant research professor at the University at Buffalo for four years, and director of research and Biostatistical and Radiation Health Consultant at the Ministry of Concern for Public Health, before leaving the Buffalo area for Toronto in the early 1980s.

Sister Rosalie traveled the globe, researching and advising ways of dealing with the chemical and nuclear hazards which endanger the environment and erode the health of people worldwide until shortly before her death. She authored two books, No Immediate Danger (1985) and Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War (2000), as well as more than a hundred articles.

She was named to the Global 500 Roll of Honour 1993 (United Nations Environment Programme) and was the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, December, 1986. Among other accolades, Sister Rosalie received numerous honorary doctorates in recognition of her scholarly and professional work and her efforts as a social justice advocate.

Information from this biographical note was taken from Sister Bertell's obituary on the Independent Catholic News website, the Buffalo News obituary, and the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart website.


29 Linear Feet (24 cartons, 1 flat box, and 1 map-case folder.)


Personal and professional papers of Sister Rosalie Bertell, GNSH, PhD.


Collection is arranged by topic.

Preservica Internal URL

Related Digital Material|f2b2279d-778e-4faa-8649-8122436fd53c/

Acquisition Information

The Sister Rosalie Bertell papers, 1972-2015, was gifted to University Archives by Sister Rosalie Bertell as accession #2014-004.

Additionals materials were gifted to the University Archives by Sister Nancy Kaczmarek, GNSH, December 2022, as accession #2022-060.

Processing Information

This collection is minimally processed. Finding aid encoded by Jessica Hollister, November 2022.


Finding aid for the Sister Rosalie Bertell papers MS.0238
Finding aid prepared by Jessica Hollister
2022 November 17
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
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