Code Girls

World War II Code Girls: What’s in a Name? 

Looking for Records? 
"Code girls:” the women who worked in cryptography (the practice of making a code) or as cryptanalysts (breaking codes) during World War II. They were commonly recruited from colleges and universities to work in the intelligence branches of Federal agencies.

However, you will not be able to locate your Code Girl ancestor easily within the record groups held by the National Archives or Military Personnel Records. There is no record group that encompasses a roster of all the Code Girls. It plainly does not exit.  Plus based on their jobs, you may never uncover their real job. 

What You May Learn
With the following in hand, you may uncover some personnel information: name, maiden name, date of birth, employing agency, and location of employment. You may be able to facilitate the search for Code Girl within the archives by providing this data and requesting by email to But again your pre-work is required.  It's also helpful if you can uncover where they were trained, and who hired them, or promoted them, as well as their last place of employment.  Many were recruited by women colleges and WAC - Army and Navy. 

African American Women Too

The Black Women Code Breakers of Arlington Hall Station

An All Black Group of Code Girls, cryptographers was headed by William D. Coffee (RG 146, Dept of Army/Airforce): 

Book: How the American Women Codebreakers of WWII Helped Win the War documents the triumphs and challenges of more than 10,000 women who worked behind the scenes of wartime intelligence

Many do not know there is a national Cryptologic Museum (NCM), a public museum in US Intelligence Community, located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA in Maryland.  This museum has artifacts and outlines the nation's history in code making and code breaking.  Plus there's a library of cryptologic media

Did you know the CIA did a study in 1953 on the Role of Women in Intelligence? A good, fun, but fiction audiobook Reverse Tell, podcast is Not Necessarily Nefarious. The women are there!

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers


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