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Topics in Chronicling America - Female Spies in World War One

Whether for love, country or just a thrill, women from both sides rose up as spies during World War One. Seductive and cunning, they were instrumental in shaping the outcome of the war, provided that they weren’t caught before they could share their information. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

Picture of a female spy at work.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • October 31, 1915: Edith Cavell’s death and resultant feminist argument.
  • June 4, 1916: The broken plan of a broken-armed woman.
  • December 13, 1917: Baroness Zollner arrested in Annapolis, sending area into uproar.
  • January 25, 1918: Thrilling experiences of a Maude Muller who ran down German plotters.
  • February 13, 1918: The love tricks of the woman spy.
  • April 7, 1918: Queens of the spy world whose intrigues sway the fate of nations.
  • June 2, 1918: “Mme. Storch - Vampire and German Spy” column begins.
  • June 11, 1918: The Story of Felice Schmidt.
  • June 23, 1918: Olga von Marx reveals her life as German spy in an on-going column.
  • May 16, 1919: The two belated funerals of hero-spy Cavell; Cavell celebrated.
  • October 21, 1919: Edith Cavell’s life made into an opera.
  • September 25, 1920: Women spies are selfish.
  • April 20, 1920. Cavell memorial unveiled. (While not a spy as we generally see them, newspapers and popular culture of the time often referred to her as a “spy-nurse,” or the “nurse who was executed by the Germans as a spy.” Controversy as to whether she was or was not a spy still exists.)
  • July 2, 1922: Mistinguett's heroic sacrifice for love and France.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Mata Hari, Edith Cavell, Storch, Felice Schmidt, Baroness Iona Zollner, woman spy

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  October 31, 2014
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