The recently published Code Girls by Liza Mundy tells the extraordinary story of the 11,000 women who worked for the U.S. Army and Navy as code breakers during World War II.
They were recruited from the Seven Sisters and other colleges throughout New England by the Navy and from colleges and school-teaching positions throughout the rest of the U.S. by the Army. All of the initial ones came in as civilian workers, though quite a few of both those initial recruits and the later arrivals became WACs (Women’s Army Corps) and WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), both commissioned officers and enlisted women, following the creation of the women’s corps. Most served in Washington, D.C. or Dayton, Ohio, though some in the Army served in the European theater. Much credit is due to those men in military leadership who recognized the important role that very bright women could play in this key wartime effort and encouraged their use in this way.