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Polish mathematicians & code breakers made the first breakthroughs against Nazi Germany's Enigma code.......

1885: Cryptologic pioneer Genevieve Young Hitt was born.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
1885: Cryptologic pioneer Genevieve Young Hitt was born.

29 May 1885: Birth date of cryptologic pioneer Genevieve Young Hitt.

Learn more about the work done by Colonel Parker Hitt and Genevieve Young Hitt via the publication, "Pioneers of U.S. Military Cryptology: Colonel Parker Hitt and His Wife, Genevieve Young Hitt," by Betsy Rohaly Smoot via the link at the bottom of this page.

Below is an excerpt from article on Army.mil by Ruth Quinn, "An Army Wife "Doing Her Bit" in World War I, The Story of Genevieve Young Hitt." Get link to the full article at the bottom of the page.

"While it is unknown when Mrs. Hitt developed an interest in cryptology, she likely studied the discipline alongside her husband (Col. Parker Hitt), and became proficient in using the M138-A sliding strip decoding device that Parker first developed in 1914. Genevieve has also been credited with assisting in the preparation and compilation of her husband's seminal work, Manual for the Solution of Military Ciphers, published by the Army in 1916. Obviously, she had a knack for cipher work too.

While Genevieve and her husband were stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma the Army put them both to work analyzing intercepted Mexican government messages during the 1916 Punitive Expedition. However, the reality of being an Army wife surfaced when Captain Hitt was sent overseas in May 1917 to serve on General Pershing's staff as assistant to the Chief Signal Officer during World War I. Genevieve moved from Fort Sill to Fort Sam Houston to be near her family. But rather than siting around pining for her deployed husband, Genevieve traveled to Riverbank Laboratories to gain some training in cryptology, meeting another cryptology pioneer, William Friedman. Back home in Texas, Genevieve began receiving hand-written notes marked "For Mrs. Hitt," clipped to cipher messages that had been sent to the Southern Department. Without ceremony or salary, she routinely deciphered them.

In April 1918, the Army finally deemed her work worthy of a paycheck. Genevieve was placed in charge of code work for the Southern Department's Intelligence Officer, Robert L. Barnes, for the salary of $1,000 per year. She worked 5 ½ days per week (plus overtime) coding and decoding official Army intelligence correspondence, maintaining control of the Army codebooks in the department, and breaking intercepted coded and enciphered messages. Except for her brief visit to Riverbank, she was entirely self-taught. Barnes later noted that Genevieve was "specially qualified for such work having made a special study thereof." Her new job was hardly what she imagined her life would be as a young debutante in Texas a few years earlier."

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  • Birthday of cryptologic machine designer Edward Hebern. Hebern's five-rotor cipher machine is cryptologically significant as part of the overall evolution in U.S. manufactured rotor devices. The National Cryptologic Museum has two very rare five-rotor Hebern cipher machines in its collection.

About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.