USPS releases the Women Cryptologists of WWII Stamp

Yesterday I spent the morning at the National Cryptologic Museum, just outside the NSA headquarters in Maryland. It was the First Day of Issue Ceremony for the stamp we designed commemorating the crucial contributions of women cryptologists during WWII.

The stamp reproduces a piece of the famous Japanese “Purple Code,” originally deciphered by Genevieve Grotjan. The code is combined with a texture of text for the title and blank rectangles suggesting redactions. This all overlays a blurred out image of a service woman of the era, as a stand-in for the thousands of women who worked these jobs anonymously.

For those interested in testing their cyphering ability, we added seemingly random letters (ZRPH QF UB SWRORJLVWV RIZRUOGZDULL, FLSKHU, DQDOBCH and VHFUHW) to the selvage (extra area on the stamp sheet) which can be deciphered. If you are stumped, the reverse side of the pane has the cipher needed to read the words.

Collage of photos: sheet of the Women Cryptologists of WWII stamp, the cancellation featuring a cipher, and a code to be deciphered