During World War I, a 23-year-old Quaker schoolteacher named Elizebeth Smith grew bored with her job and traveled to Chicago in search of “more unusual” work. She found it — and much more — when an eccentric tycoon hired her to discover secret messages supposedly planted in the works of Shakespeare. This literary investigation turned out to be a dead end, but it sparked Elizebeth’s interest in codebreaking, launching her on a spectacular 30-year career as a secret weapon of multiple U.S. agencies. Journalist Jason Fagone visits to share stories from his just-published book about Elizebeth, THE WOMAN WHO SMASHED CODES, and to discuss the life of this remarkable, pioneering woman at the root of American intelligence.
Jason Fagone is a an author with Dey Street Books and a contributing writer with the Huffington Post Highline. He covers technology, sports, and culture for the Highline and other places. In 2014-15 he was a Knight-Wallace Fellow in journalism at the University of Michigan, and now lives near Philadelphia with his wife and daughter.