The Chaocipher Clearing House
Progress Report #21
It's been some time since the last Progress Report, so we'll try to recap the main Chaocipher-related news items.
Moshe Rubin publishes a Chaocipher-related paper in CryptologiaA comprehensive paper entitled "John F. Byrne's Chaocipher Revealed: An Historical and Technical Appraisal" was published in the October 2011 issue of Cryptologia (volume 35 issue 4, pages 328 - 379). Quoting from the abstract:
is a method of encryption invented by John F. Byrne in 1918, who tried
unsuccessfully to interest the US Signal Corp and Navy in his
system. In 1953, Byrne presented Chaocipher-encrypted messages as
a challenge in his autobiography Silent Years. Although numerous
students of cryptanalysis attempted to solve the challenge messages
over the years, none succeeded. For 90 years, the Chaocipher algorithm
was a closely guarded secret known only to a handful of persons.
Following fruitful negotiations with the Byrne family during the period
20092010, the Chaocipher papers and materials have been donated to the
National Cryptologic Museum in Ft. Meade, MD. This paper presents a
comprehensive historical and technical evaluation of John F. Byrne and
his Chaocipher system.
The entire article can be downloaded for free from the Taylor & Francis website (T&F are the publishers of Cryptologia). Just click the "Download full text" link on the right-hand side of the page.
Patricia Byrne, John F. Byrne's daughter-in-law, passes away at age 92Patricia
Byrne, John F. Byrne's daughter-in-law, and the person who donated the
entire Chaocipher archives to the National Cryptologic Museum, passed
away on January 24, 2012 at age 92. Pat, who had a prolific
career as an American operatic soprano and musical theatre actress from
the mid-1940s to the 1970s as Patricia Neway, was married to John F.
Byrne's son, John. When John passed away in 2008, Pat was the
sole possessor of John F. Byrne's archive of Chaocipher-related papers,
correspondences, and models.
Following negotiations with the National Cryptologic Museum,
Pat magnanimously donated the entire Chaocipher archive to the museum,
thus ensuring that John F. Byrne's Chaocipher legacy will not be lost
to future scholars and researchers.
Here are some references to information about this special woman:
(c) 2012-2013 Moshe Rubin
Created: 27 April 2012
Last updated: 18 January 2013