The National Cryptologic Museum has put on display some works from its recently acquired world's greatest collection of books on codes and ciphers. The collection has been donated by the leading historian of that field, David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers. The works range from cryptology's "Gutenberg Bible," the first printed book on cryptology, the 1518 Polygraphiae libri sex, by the German mystic Johannes Trithemius, to Kahn's notes of his interviews with modern cryptologists.
Among the other jewels of the Kahn collection is a fairly complete set of U.S. patents of cipher machines and all eight of the pathbreaking World War I studies of cryptology, the Riverbank Publications. Each is autographed by its main author, William F. Friedman, the father of modern cryptology, who gave them to Kahn as a high school graduation present. The collection comprises hundreds of books and pamphlets as well as scores of folders of offprints, photocopies, and memoranda organized by various aspects of secret writing.
Among the items being shown at the museum are the Polygraphiae, a volume of the heavily penciled typescript of The Codebreakers, and the transcript of Kahn's appearance on the Tonight Show in March 1968.
The Museum is the National Security Agency's principal gateway to the public. It shares the Nation's, as well as NSA's, cryptologic legacy and place in world history. The National Cryptologic Museum Foundation is raising money for a new building, whose library will have the Kahn collection as its core.
The National Cryptologic Museum is located at the intersection of Maryland Route 32 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (I-295), adjacent to the headquarters of the National Security Agency. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays), and 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month. Admission is free. For further information, please call 301-688-5849.