Exactly 129 years ago today, on August 26, 1892, Elizebeth Smith Friedman was born on an Indiana farm, the ninth child in her family. Small and frail, she didn’t have an easy start in life, but she rose to become one of the world’s great codebreakers.

I’ve spent years researching her life, and what a ride it’s been! I can’t wait to share it with you when THE WOMAN ALL SPIES FEAR comes out in October.

In the meantime: Happy birthday, Elizebeth! Here is one of my favorite photos of her, taken around 1916, when she got her start in codebreaking.

(Photo courtesy of the George C. Marshall Foundation in Lexington, VA.)