Marie Meyer (linguist)

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Marie Anne Meyer (April 7, 1897 – 1969) was an American linguist and spy who worked for the National Security Agency from 1943-60.[1] She was assigned to the Venona project and is credited with making some of the first recoveries of the Venona codebook.[2][3] She studied eight foreign languages and was the first person to receive the NSA's Meritorious Civilian Service Award.[1][2]

Marie Anne Meyer
Born April 7, 1897
Nationality American
Occupation Linguist
Home town Bloomington, Illinois


Early life and education[edit]

Meyer was born on April 7, 1897 and raised in Bloomington, Illinois.[1] She attended Illinois Normal State University in Normal, Illinois and graduated with a bachelor's degree in education in 1919.[1] She began teaching at schools after graduation and continued her education through summer sessions at the University of Chicago, studying French and Latin.[1] In August 1930, she received a master's degree in Latin.[1] In the 1930s and 1940s, she continued to study languages, taking summer classes in Sanskrit, Greek, and German.[1]


In 1943, Meyer was hired by the Signal Security Agency, most likely as a German linguist.[1][2] In the summer of 1946, she took a University of Chicago course in Russian[2] and was assigned to the Venona project by the National Security Agency.[3] She is credited with making some of the first recoveries of the Venona codebook.[2][3] For the rest of her career, Meyer worked on other facets of the Russian problem and taught Russian classes at the NSA training school.[1] A 1950 NSA memorandum described Meyer as a "highly professional Russian linguist holding the highest level of competency."[1]

Later life[edit]

Meyer retired in 1960 and was the first person to receive the Meritorious Civilian Service Award.[1] She spent her retirement years engaging in research at Catholic University in Celtic languages.[1] She died in Illinois in December 1969.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Marie Meyer -". Retrieved 2017-12-27. 
  3. ^ a b c "National Women's History Museum Spies Exhibition". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of American Women at War. ABC-CLIO. 2013. pp. 389–90. ISBN 978-1598844436.