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Last update: 7 January 2021   -    Dernière mise-à-jour: 7 janvier 2021


  Herbert O. Yardley  

(Photo taken at the National Cryptologic Museum located at Fort Meade in Maryland)

In his book "Best Kept Secret", John Bryden writes that '"The American Black Chamber" (1931) is a classic in the annals of secret intelligence. It is mostly the story of Yardley's First World War experiences as the head of the War Department's cryptanalysis bureau. Written in a crisp, anecdotal style, it is a very readable narrative of early code- and cipher-breaking, wireless and cable interception, secret inks, and spy-catching. These revelations were enough to make it an instant best-seller but, unfortunately for him, Yardley went too far.'

It is reported that in May 1941, General Joseph Mauborgne (Chief Signal Officer, U.S. Army) recommended to the Canadians that they hire Herbert Yardley whom he described as "an expert cryptographer and fine organizer". Yardley worked for the Canadian cryptographic section from June to December 1941. There had been great pressure by the U.S. and U.K. to have him dismissed.



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Additional Web Information/Photos
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Source: Personal Collection
"The American Black Chamber" - 1931 This was the first and most provocative book written by Herbert Yardley in 1931 - this edition was published by Faber & Faber Limited.
  • Wikipedia website on the book "The American Black Chamber".
  • PDF Scan of William Friedman's annotated copy of "The American Black Chamber".
  • Youtube Video on William Friedman's annotated copy of "The American Black Chamber".
Click for larger photo
Source: Personal Collection
"The American Black Chamber" - 1931 This was the first and most provocative book written by Herbert Yardley in 1931 - this edition was published by Bobbs-Merrill.
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Source: Personal Collection
"The American Black Chamber" - Japanese Edition. As Yardley's book revealed much of the success in decrypting Japanese ciphers, his book was quickly translated in Japanese!
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Source: Personal Collection
"Le Cabinet Noir Américain" - 1935 French version was released in 1935 - this book was published by Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Critique in France.
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Source: Personal Collection
"Secret Service in America " - 1940 More or less a republication of "The American Black Chamber" under a new title in 1940.
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Source: Personal Collection
"The Blonde Countess" - 1934 A novel written in 1934 later made into the movie "Rendez-Vous".
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Source: Personal Collection
"Red Sun of Nippon" - 1934 A novel written in 1934.
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Source: Personal Collection
"Crows are Black Everywhere" - 1945 A novel written in 1945.
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Source: Personal Collection
"Chinese Black Chamber" - 1983 (published posthumously) An account of the Chinese Black Chamber such as it was in the late 1930's.
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Source: Personal Collection
"Yardleygrams" - 1932 A book with secret codes and puzzles to be solved by the reader.
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Source: Personal Collection
"Ciphergrams" - 1930's A book with secret codes and puzzles to be solved by the reader. The edition shown has a blue covers under the dust jacket. Here is a photo of another edition without dust jacket.
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Source: Personal Collection
"The Education of a Poker Player" - 1957 A book on strategies to increase odds of winning at Poker.
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Source: Personal Collection
"The Education of a Poker Player" - UK Edition 1959 A book on strategies to increase odds of winning at Poker.





The American Black Chamber - 1931 The American Black Chamber - 1931 Le Cabinet 

      Noir Américain- 1935 Le Cabinet Noir Américain- 1935 Secret Service in America - 1940 

     (Formerly `The American Black Chamber')
The Blonde Countess - 1934 Crows are Black Everywhere - 1945 Red Sun of Nippon - 1934 Chinese Black Chamber - 1983
Yardleygrams - 1932 Ciphergrams - 1930's The Education of a Poker Player - 1957 The Education of a Poker Player - 1959 

    (Introduction by Ian Fleming)

Simply click on any of the 3 Liberty Magazine issues below to view its "Yardleygram"!

Yardleygram from Liberty magazine - 10 June 1933    Yardleygram from Liberty magazine - 29 July 1933    Yardleygram from Liberty magazine - 12 August 1933


If you have questions or suggestions, please email Richard at his spytools@sympatico.ca email address.

Any content (original photos or text) which is displayed herein is for the strict viewing and educational enlightenment for those who visit this website. Other sites can link to content of this website or parts therein and must do so with appropriate and clear accreditation. The whole or any portions of photos and/or text herein or local to this website (i.e. which extend from www.campx.ca) must not be copied nor reproduced without the explicit consent of the author Richard Brisson at his spytools@sympatico.ca email address.



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