Genevieve Feinstein

Posted: July 3, 2008 in Counterintelligence, Cryptology, National Security, Technology, WWII

Genevieve Feinstein (1912-2006) was my kind of gal. A math-whiz with dreams of becoming a teacher, she was veered off course when she took an exam to be a government mathematician and decided to use her smarts for the common good.

Genevieve became a cryptanalyst for the US Signals Intelligence Service and in 1939, began work on decoding Japanese diplomatic messages. In 1940, Genevieve broke the code and her breakthrough allowed SIS to build a machine to decrypt the Japanese (US code name “Purple“) cipher machine. I don’t think I need to remind you how many lives this saved in the process.

After WWII, Genevieve continued working in cryptology and advancing cryptological research. Genevieve was one of the many women who worked as cryptanalysts on the Venona Project.


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