Bertrand L. Shurtleff
Bertrand L. Shurtleff
Team: Football

Bertrand L. Shurtleff '22
Sport: Football
Year Inducted: 1983
Other Sports Played: Wrestling  

Bertrand L. Shurtleff '22 was one of the "strong men" of the Brown lines of the early 1920's, lines that included such Bruin football immortals as Adolph Eckstein '25, Mike Gulian '23, and John Spellman '24. From 1919 to 1921, Brown won 16, lost 10, and tied two while holding the opposition to an average of seven points a game. Bert Shurtleff played tackled and guard for two years until settling down at center in 1921. He was a roving center, fast on his feet, quick at diagnosing plays, and sure in his tackling. Bert never wore a helmet, and he had the crowd-pleasing habit of rolling up his jersey sleeves to the shoulders whenever the going got tough. The ate George Trevor, one of the country's leading sportswriters, included Shurtleff on his list of all-time Bruin football greats in a 1929 articles. As a wrestler, the 5-10, 188-pound Shurtleff was even more brilliant, and was elected to the Brown Athletic Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1971. He was a member of the wrestling team for four years and in 1920 gained honors as collegiate light heavyweight champion. He played professional football with the New York Giants, the Providence Steam Rollers for four years, and the Boston Bulldogs. Shurtleff also wrestled on the professional circuit during the Depression years. In the early 1930's, when Hollywood was looking for another "tough egg" to come along and replace Louis Wolheim, Bert Shurtleff was given parts in several films, including one with Mae West. "If I had stayed with professional wrestling a bit longer I might have become a better actor and been able to make the grade in Hollywood," he once quipped. Shurtleff taught English and coached football at Durfee High in Fall River and East Providence High and later lectured on his varied experiences. He was also a productive author, starting with a book of poetry published while an undergraduate. He wrote a number of novels and was published in more than sixty magazines. His 1944 novel, AWOL K-9 Commando, a story of dogs and their work in World War II, was published by Bobbs-Merrill and sold more than 60,000 copies. Bert Shurtleff died Feb. 15, 1967 in Anaheim, Calif., while giving a lecture at a high school.