Linda Matchett to Present Women of Espionage

On Tuesday, June 22, author Linda Matchett will discuss her book, Women of Espionage, as part of Wright Museum’s 2021 Lecture Series, presented by Ron Goodgame and Donna Canney. The lecture, according to Matchett, will provide attendees with a unique glimpse into the role women played as spies in World War II, a subject she covers in detail in her book.

“Until World War II, those activities [as a spy] were relegated primarily to men, the thought being that women weren’t ‘suited’ for conventional spycraft,” she noted. “Wild Bill” Donovan, director at the time of America’s Office of Strategic Services, disagreed and hired hundreds of women as undercover agents. “He realized that women were more inconspicuous as spies, especially in occupied areas where men of combat age would stand out,” added Matchett. “In the field, women could go unnoticed as couriers.”

One dispatch in 1944 indicated women were rarely stopped and searched at checkpoints. “Women spies labored side by side with their male counterparts gathering intelligence, performing sabotage, stealing codes and other important information,” she said. “They worked with resistance organizations, ran underground railroads for downed fliers, recruited double agents, and more.”

In addition to providing an overview of women’s role as spies in the war, Matchett will highlight specific stories, including Barbara Lauwers Podoski, one of the architects of Operation Sauerkraut, and many others.

The lecture, Women of Espionage  begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22 at the Wright Museum, 77 Center Street in Wolfeboro on the first floor of the new DuQuoin Education Center. Admission is $3 for members and $8 for non-members. Seating is limited due to CDC guidelines on social distancing. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 603-569-1212.

The region’s leading resource for educators and learners of all ages on World War II, the Wright Museum features more than 14,000 items in its collection that are representative of both the homefront and battlefield.