The Hidden Stories of Women in Espionage
© History is a Hoot, Inc. 2003-2014
A cyber display collabrative effort between the National Women's History Musuem and History is a Hoot, Inc.
Decades before becoming a famous chef, Julia Child worked for the Office of Strategic Services. She was assigned to solve a critical problem for Allied forces, including OSS operatives, during World War II: shark attacks.
Downed airmen and agents using the oceans to conduct operations were constantly threatened by the animals. Working at OSS Headquarters in Washington, she and a few of
All Americans can learn and draw inspiration from these courageous women, some of whom we recognize for their roles in popular culture.
her male compatriots got together and literally cooked up a repellent that effectively discouraged shark attacks.
It was later used during the manned space program when American astronauts returned to Earth using ocean landings.
gathering. More popular terms are espionage and spying. However labeled, the art and science of obtaining timely and accurate data is as old as humankind itself. At least one reference to information collection is recorded in the Old Testament. Within the historical context of our own country, espionage has served a vital role from the beginning.
At every secretive step, women have been actively involved in all manner of espionage activities, serving in positions that range from code clerks to actual undercover agents. Some wore the military uniform of their country; others, gingham skirts.
Especially noteworthy is the service of the 4,500 women who served in the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services (predecessor to the CIA) working as spies, saboteurs, guerrilla warriors, cryptographers, cartographers, propaganda experts, agent recruiters and communication technicians.
It is known as intelligence or information