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The Culture of American Womanhood Series: Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is NOT required
Members Free and Non-members Free with admission ($10)

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Liza Mundy

In 1942, reeling from Japan’s devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States military launched a secret program to recruit young, female college graduates to act as code breakers in the newly ramped up war effort. In Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II, award-winning journalist and bestselling author Liza Mundy reveals for the first time the revolutionary achievements and patriotic service of the remarkable young women who cracked German and Japanese military codes. As Mundy shows, their astonishing code-breaking triumphs helped secure an AlliedCredit: TK victory before their vow of secrecy nearly erased their vital contributions from US history.

Liza Mundy is the New York Times bestselling author of The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family and Michelle: A Biography. She was a long-time reporter at the Washington Post and has contributed to numerous publications including The Atlantic, TIME, The New Republic, Slate, Mother Jones, and Politico. She is a frequent commentator on prominent national television shows, radio, and online news outlets. A senior fellow at New America, Mundy is one of the nation's foremost experts on women and work issues.

Evidence of both women of color and white women working at the Boston Naval Shipyard in Charlestown during World War II appears in the work of Allan Rohan Crite in images such as In the Drafting Room and Passing Parade.


This event is part of “The Culture of American Womanhood,” a four-part series investigating multiple facets of the experience of womanhood in our own time and probing questions of women’s roles in contemporary American society and culture. Join us for the other events in the series:

The Culture of American Womanhood Series: Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America
Book talk with New York Times bestselling author Liza Mundy
6-7 pm on October 18, 2017

About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America
Book talk with Columbia University Professor of Law Carol Sanger
6-7 pm on November 2, 2017

Naked Among the Karma Eaters: The Body Politics of Women’s Lands
Lecture with Harvard University lecturer and cultural anthropologist Keridwen N. Luis
12-1 pm on December 5, 2017

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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or