Tech Thursday: Cryptography

Even more rare books!

What counts as technology? It’s easy to think reductively; objects like airplanes and computers will never fail to capture our attention, but processes and less concrete artifices are deserving of our consideration, too.

The Alan Harris Bath Collection (scroll to the bottom) is another of the Woodson’s Rare Book Collections, this one is focused on military intelligence, with something like seventy five books on codes and cryptography. Most of these are histories, focusing on cryptography in particular periods, countries, wars, agencies, and operations, but some are genuine guides and manuals for making and breaking codes.

Cryptogram Solving

First published in 1933, this little booklet is meant to be an introduction to cryptography. It discusses “Word and Affix Comparison,” “Vowel Spotting,” “Vowel Characteristics,” etc. Its author, M.E. O’Haver was a notable and prolific cryptographer whose work help spark public interest in secret codes.




A quarterly journal on cryptography, the Woodson holds twenty eight volumes, from the 1977 first issue to 2004. These examples are from the first 2004 edition.





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