Agnes Meyer Driscoll

2000 NSA Hall of Honor Inductee & Women in American Cryptology Honoree

Agnes Meyer DriscollWho is Agnes Meyer Driscoll?

Also known as “Madame X'”, Agnes was one of the top American Naval cryptanalysts during both World War I and World War II and remained one of the top in her field until 1949.

Early Life and Education

“Miss Aggie” was born in 1898 and was not the typical woman of her time. She studied a broad field of subjects in college including mathematics, physics, foreign languages, and music.

Career in the Navy & the NSA

She was recruited by the Navy in 1918 at the rank of Chief Yeoman (the highest rank she could receive at the time) to work in the Code and Signal section of the Navy. She continued to work for the Navy for the next 31 years with only one short period of two years, when she worked outside the Navy. When she left the Navy, she joined the new Armed Forces Security Agency in 1949 which later became the NSA (National Security Agency). 

Her Accomplishments & Legacy

Madame X is primarily known for breaking major Japanese codes that affected the outcome of WWI and WWII. They included:

  • the Red Book Code  (1920s)
  • the Blue Book Code (1930s)
  • and she made major contributions to JN-25, the Japanese fleet’s operational code

Agnes was also part of the U.S. team that worked to solve the Enigma machine until the U.S.- U.K. cryptologic exchanges took place in 1942-43.

Learn more about Agnes Meyer Driscoll from the NSA 

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