As part of the new George C. Marshall Legacy Series recognizing events from General Marshall's career, the Marshall Foundation and National Security Agency debuted its "Friedman Collection and the Declassification and Release of William Friedman's Official Papers" at the Marshall Library on Thursday, April 23, 2015.
William F. Friedman is one of the founders of American cryptology, the making and breaking of codes, and laid the foundation by which the National Security Agency operates today. A significant force in the world of cryptology, Friedman's career highlights many great achievements. As the lead code breaker for the U.S. War Department, he led a team that broke Japanese diplomatic code in 1940 during World War II. As a result, General Marshall later described the intelligence provided by Friedman and his cryptologists as "contributing greatly to the victory and tremendously to the saving of American lives…and…the early termination of the war."
When Friedman retired from NSA in 1955, he donated his personal papers to the Marshall Foundation where they have resided since 1969. With the addition of these official papers, the Marshall Foundation now possesses the most complete and comprehensive set of Friedman materials as part of one of the most private collections of cryptologic material worldwide.
The afternoon's events included remarks from senior officials at the Marshall Foundation, NSA, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and scholars and historians, highlighting the value of Friedman's efforts and the significance of this release. It also featured a panel presentation that detailed the efforts taken to declassify and release 7,600 documents. Photos and information about the release are posted on the National Cryptologic Museum's Facebook page.
To complement the release of the Friedman papers, the National Cryptologic Museum in Ft. Meade, Md., will unveil their "William Friedman: A Life in Cryptology" collection of photographs, artifacts, books, and portions of the 7,600 released documents to the public on April 28, 2015. These documents are also available to the general public online at NSA.gov. This release of these important papers will allow scholars and the general public to gain a better understanding of William F. Friedman and the significance his work made to the world of cryptology.
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. For more information on the museum, tours, educational programs, and hours and days of operation, click on the National Cryptologic Museum tab at NSA.gov. Admission and parking are free. You can also follow the National Cryptologic Museum's Facebook page.