Stamp Celebrates Women Cryptologists
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 23 October 2022

The US Postal Service has issued a commemorative stamp to honor the service of some 11,000 women cryptologists during World War II. A message to be decrypted is included in the margins around the pane of 20 stamps, which are issued as Forever stamps.

The stamp art features an image from a poster designed to recruit women for WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), part of the U.S, Naval Reserve. It also has an overlay of characters from the "Purple" code, used by the Japanese government to encrypt diplomatic messages.

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According to Jakki Krage Strako, the Postal Service's chief commerce and business solutions officer speaking at a first-day-of-issue ceremony for the Forever stamp at the National Cryptologic Museum:

"During World War II, some 11,000 women labored day and night, helping to process and decipher an endless stream of enemy military messages. Their work was both frustrating and exhilarating (sometimes simultaneously) and is one of the conflict's best-kept secrets

With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service honors all of the women cryptologists of World War II, whose service played an inestimable role in the Allied victory."

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The Women Cryptologists of World War II pane of 20 stamps are issued as Forever 60c stamps, and will always be equal to in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price. The stamps can only be purchased within the US and are available through the USPS Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps.

If you are interested in testing your code breaking skills, the pane selvage includes some coded text (ZRPH QF UB SWRORJLVWV RIZRUOGZDULL, FLSKHU, DQDOBCH and VHFUHW). If you want help to crack the code, the reverse side of the pane has the cipher needed to read the words.

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More Information

Women Cryptologists of World War II Stamps

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 October 2022 )