tv Codename Cynthia CSPAN April 4, 2015 6:50pm-8:01pm EDT
eum and go to the house, which has been restored. >> thank you, chris. [applause] >> the civil war heirs here every saturday at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern time. to watch more of our programming any time visit our website c-span.org/history. you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. >> up next on american history tv natalie zanin talks about an english diplomat that became a spy for british intelligence. she utilized her charm beauty, and sex to gain valuable intelligence during the spanish civil war and during world war ii. in one mission in washington ec she stole naval codes in an effort -- enable codes from an
embassy aligned with the nazis. from the international spy museum, this is about an hour. peter: i am the executive director of the spy museum. i'm happy to have you here for what will be an interesting program. this happened during most of our lifetimes. it will resonate with you quite a bit. a our speaker this morning is natalie. we have worked with her at the museum before. she is a writer, director, producer of educational tors in washington. she develops them herself and does chilton's programs. she is codeveloper of what is our tour, the spy museum city tour of d.c.. which we do in partnership with gray line.
she has been featured in a number of local outlets, washington -- washingtonian magazine, the post, the times. she has been on the history channel and a number of others. she has been director of the silver spring inclusive theater. she has spent a lot of of time on this particular case, which i was discussing with her this morning. natalie we are very glad to have you here. natalie: thank you, peter. i'm going to be talking to you about cynthia, or codename cynthia. this is a very interesting woman.
i call her a most unusual woman i find that she lived a very exciting life. when i did some research on her i kept seeing it in terms of a screenplay, so i started writing one. how do you hold a spy? how do you create a spy? if you were to go into a laborde tori and put in ingredients into a machine to concoct a spy, you couldn't come up with a much better one than cynthia. all the elements are there. in her early life she was born amy elizabeth thorpe in minneapolis, minnesota. she said she was of irish-scandinavian heritage on her father's side and mixed french-canadian and a very and on her mother's side.
amy had a relative named aunt amy who lived with the family. to avoid confusion the family started calling her elizabeth and then later betty. that he stuck. she liked that he the family liked that. her father was george cyrus thorpe. her mother was cora wells thorpe . she was an educated woman and she didn't mix well with the rest of minneapolis society. i think she felt she was above them. she studied at columbia at the university of munich. she was referred to as little betty, as cold and aloof. when i picture her now i picture a cross between margaret dumont
of the marx brothers films and the dowager countess from downton abbey. a little less friendly, perhaps. it is 1910. george is commanding the navy in portsmouth. betty has a sister born in 1912 and a brother, george, born in 1914. betty's childhood is interesting. she liked being outside, she liked to run through the maine woods. she often said she felt as if she were built around a lowness. that was most comfortable for her present from the age of four she would hide among the large pine trees in the woods. she would hear the water nearby and she would stay there for hours and hours.
the family in the beginning got worried and would look for her. they alerted the local police. they knew the woods, they knew where the child would hide, they would go out and find her and bring her back to the family in the evening. that would spend her days in the woods. this didn't seem to bother cora. betty never had a best friend, never really confided. her father was often away and there she was with cora and her siblings. co unable to tell the childrenra, -- cora, unable to help the children and tell them she loved them. that he sought escape. -- eddie -- betty sought escape.
in 1916 they moved to washington dc. washington dc was a social world for the thorpes. betty looks back on this time with fondness. george was posted to cuba. cora decides she will pack up the family and move with him there. as she makes preparations to move to cuba, she finds she has -- finds he has been shipped to south america. this doesn't sit well with her. picture margaret dumont. she decides to stay in cuba, where she stays until 1919 george being in south america. i think that worked well for her. eventually she takes the children to florida to wait for george. they return to washington dc.
betty begins keeping a diary of her day to day activities. it reads like this. george and cora move and powerful social circles. they give affairs at their home. betty observes them interacting with a social set here. she notices managed the useful -- notices manners can be useful. good manners are useful to hide behind. this is a skill that will serve her later in life. she seeks excitement. she wrote, i remember when we were very young and running races. i would always run past the finish line and ran and ran and
ran until i dropped, half strangled when my endurance ran out. i couldn't stop before that. my brother george would use to go mad. you stop? george is posted to hawaii. he is in command of the marines there. they begin to write magazine articles while they are in hawaii. cora writes a book of stories about the pacific island folk tales that is rather wealth -- rather well received. betty starts to -- that he to start writing herself. she pens her family background. it is not a family history. when you look at it it is mainly about a ball by the queen at
buckingham palace. then she decides to write a more detailed story. the story is quite good. george hires in illustrator and he has it printed. it is a beautiful tale of a girl living on the streets of naples with her blind father. poor theoretta. when a father becomes ill, she sings in the streets to earn bread. her lovely voice is overheard and she is made a famous soprano. it is a great little story. this slide you see is a photo of betty taken to illustrate th eoretta. the sun had not yet cast its sunset robe over naples but it
was sinking fast behind that agent piece of duty which nature had so thoughtfully the stowed upon the earth. it is great stuff for an 11-year-old. it is good. betty is already becoming a beautiful girl. the book which is printed only for family and friends, finds its way to washington. in 1923, betty's family comes that to washington. george is retired. they are making a grand tour of europe and when they tour, betty studies french at the institution above lake geneva. that he is bored at school. she chafes at the routine. she gets into several dustups with the principles over her rebelliousness. she is said to be a bad influence on the other students. her french was flawless.
points to her for that. she spent the next few years at private schools. she preferred solitude. she had a careless disregard for conventions and rules and is asked to leave one of the schools. she is a blonde and beautiful girl. she is coming into her looks now. she writes in her diary "my looks are better than i had hoped. god was kind and that, at least." i have to agree. i think she is stunning. the thorpes are summering in rhode island. they attend parties and a host parties at their summer home. it is at one of these google gatherings that betty meets a handsome young man of 21.
his family is out of the social register. she will never name and in her diaries. i cannot give you his name for i do not know it and i have looked. she is smitten by this young man. she wrote, " i imagine myself in love with him. we were both lonely and met only twice before the love affair was over." she was only 14. she claimed she was a seduced but she also wrote "life is but a stage upon which to play. one's role is to pretend and always hide one's true feelings. " now she has a secret she cannot even share with her diary. what does a spy do? hold secrets, pass them on to handlers. keep up a false front, never revealed your true feelings.
mission comes above yourself. this is a good training ground for her. the family returns to washington from the summer home. george establishes a firm specializing in maritime cases. betty becomes well-known. not only is it you stunning but she is a charming girl. she has learned how to flirt. her little right at both about the lonely and lovely voice to girl from naples has been read by diplomats and the italian embassy. they adore her. they make a fuss over her. an italian man is especially intrigued and calls her his golden girl. they may have been only fronts. i cannot find if they were lovers. but, she revels in the attention from this charming italian. one day, she is sunning beside a pool in washington.
she catches the eye of arthur pack. he apparently never got over that first glance. he was a commercial secretary at the embassy. she also flirts with a handsome spaniard at a country club. just a moment as they gaze at each other while watching a tennis match. it is sparks something in betty. as he left the club, the spaniard bowed dramatically. as we know, sometimes that is all it takes. gentlemen, take note. she begins to write in her diary that this young man, this mysterious spaniard, is her true love. all of the restlessness she felt before she pours into feelings for this man she has really only spoken with once. and barely spoken with at that. it is interesting.
she is going to be presented to society. this is an important part. she estimate a good presentation. the year is 1929. she will be primed. by thorpe standards, this meant the right kind of husband. betty has an affair with a man she does not name in her diary. over the christmas holiday in 1929 then, she goes to tea at her parents home. she meets arthur pack again. he remembers that first glance he had ever at the swimming pool. she writes in her diary and i wonder if this was written to arthur or the affair she had with the unnamed man. she writes, "i think i cannot understand the depth of wanting unfulfilled desire and hating
you to touch my hand went amber's die where once there was a fire -- embers die where once there was a fire." now there is a party where arthur and betty are houseguests in 1929. he walks into his room late at night, tired, just wants to sleep. he turns on the light and finds that he in his bed naked -- betty and his bed, naked. he told his friend he was surprised to find her there. [laughter] i bet he was. they were married april 20 9, 1930. this was a good marriage by cora's standards. he is from the british embassy in and outstanding. at the wedding betty was four
months pregnant. was this arthur's or the child of the unnamed man she had the affair with? when arthur finds out that she is pregnant and she kept it from him as long as she could he is serious. he is tariff -- fear he is -- furious. a man whose young wife is pregnant at the wedding could derail his career. like something out of downtown abbey, arthur insists that he tried to lose the child. she wrote later that arthur insisted she arrived on horseback very fast and jump off of stairs, run until she was exhausted. i find this a bit in congress with that is nature, however. i think this might be her
looking back. betty was a very strong person and i cannot imagine her attempt to lose a child. when she sees her doctor, he says he will lose your child or die. you must take care of yourself. that is the end of it. she goes forward, has the baby. arthur insist no announcement will be made of little anthony george's birth. in fact, they will not raise the child. a family will be found. they place a notice. a family is found. arthur will not speak of the
child. he will not visit the child. betty is heartsick over this. he insists this is the way it'll be. she makes visits to see the child. she tries to observe him from a distance. she later visits the family. i'm not sure what little tony thought of her as he was growing up, this beautiful woman who came and played with him sometimes, brought him gifts. arthur takes no interest at all. at one point, the little boy wants to have a toy gun. betty tells arthur this that she will send him a toy gun. this is the only time arthur speaks about the child. "no. absolutely not." that the rights to the child and says sorry, she cannot send him
the gift he wants. now, she has another secret to keep. she is becoming an expert at keeping secrets. no one knows the inner turmoil over her heartbreaking loss of the beautiful little boy. arthur is not transferred to chile. that he embraces the tropics. she traveled there with her family when she was younger. she is grieving over the loss of little tony. she can throw herself into the social world.she is so angry with arthur. this is a secret she has to keep deep within herself. she is so angry with him over the loss of her child that she decides anything goes at this point. what can he possibly due to her at this point? she learns to play polo, speak spanish, she meets a handsome chilean named alfredo.
they have an affair. it does not last long. she is out with friends and sees alfredo with a woman. later, she confronts him. o, this is my official mistress. oops. your official mistress? all right, we are done. she is done with him. he has an official mistress? no., no. she feels betrayed by him. she threw herself so much into the affair. bc in her writings that she really felt -- he see in her writings that she really is pouring out her love for the little boy. it is at this point she becomes pregnant by arthur. a little girl named denise in
1934. she loves the nice. she -- thedenise. our she is slept up in the political turmoil. a right-wing, catholic government is in power. the country is heading towards national revolution. the packs --betty feels unleased. she feels the freedom to do what she pleases. she is officially mrs. arthur j pack. this is her photo from the presentation to thee queen. she is build up to be presented -- dolled up to be presented.
she is at a club one day in spain and sees a face to recognizes. he is a handsome spaniard. he is the same handsome spaniard from her childhood that she met so many years ago at that tennis match in washington. she calls him antonio in her diaries but in fact, he is send your carlos -- senor carlos. they run into each other while she is with arthur. this is the man she loved for years and is now meeting him officially with her husband. she jokes in front of arthur, this is someone i had a crush on one i was younger. carlos responds, we were terribly young and i'm sure you have forgotten about me.
but she has not. they begin an affair. carlos is married. arthur is busy with work. at this point, that he does something rather interesting. she decides to become a catholic. she says it is to please arthur. carlos is catholics are either feeling that might have pushed her in that direction. the embassy counselor encourages her to seek the counsel of a young priest to further her studies. the priest and betty meet. they have appropriate meetings. they converse daily about catholicism. it is during this point that betty and the counselor have to take a elevator meeting. he asks how her studies are
going. she says it is going well. then, the elevator stops. there were frequent strikes in spain. one day, she tried to light a cigarette. he matched would not strike and she turned to her friend and said, this is the only thing that won't strike in spain. he says i will use that in my newspaper. she and sir george are in the lift and it is stuck between floors. these are the days when there was no telephone and an elevator, of course. hours and hours go by. after a wild, art -- while some arthur notices betty has not come home. he goes to the place he knows the meeting will take place, sees the elevator is stuck ranges to have someone open the top of the -- arranges to have someone open the top of the elevator.
sir george is not able to make the climb and spent the rest of the night in the elevator. betty goes on to meet with her young priest again. she notes he is handsome. one day, he request that she meet him in another part of town. this is not suspicious to betty because priests are in great danger in spain at this time. they are arrested. it is understandable he is looking for what she thinks is a safer place to meet. she arrives and realizes it is a part of town where people meet for secret lovers meetings and now she is a bit suspicious. she climbs the stairs to the room. when she arrives to the apartment, he is out of habit. he is really out of habit. [laughter]
then he falls into old habits. he confesses he has fallen in love with her. they fall into bed but it is a mild affair. she is still in love with carlos. she does not have an issue continuing an affair with the priest with the affair with carlos. the priest will leave the priesthood and wants to marry her. this is mark obligated then she would wish. -- more complicated then she would wish. "you should stay a priest. i cannot leave my husband." any excuse she can use. a priest does not care. he is arrested. she does what she can to have him released from prison. she feels badly. this is a good out for betty because she encourages him to leave the area, leave spain for his own safety.
now she is done with this entanglement. war is eminent in spain. carlos, her lover his wife comes to see betty one day. carlos has been arrested. he is in prison, they don't know where. his wife is a hysterical, can't betty help her? i don't think his wife knew at this point that she was having an affair with carlos. betty does try to find him through her efforts. she is accused of espionage through these efforts by the generals military headquarters. she is not a spy at this point but this is the first time she is accused of espionage. she meets a man at the chancery and valencia.
he is a very charming british man. he is very sympathetic to betty's plea to find carlos. she uses her charm on him. it works. they had a great encounter. betty was surprised by this encounter. she went to meet john and she thought they would discuss finding carlos. he suddenly grabbed her, threw her on the bed, and they made love. betty was surprised but, you know -- [laughter] apparently find. e. he tells her he is madly in love with her. he does not care about his career. he wants only to be with betty. she has to work hard to convince in this affair is a mistake. he is in love with her.
she goes to see arthur. he admits to her that he has had an affair. wife of a junior colleague. he wants to marry this woman he calls maude. i could not find out her real name. no one noted it. now, it is 1937. arthur is being posted to war. john tried to follow betty and was told he could not under any circumstances by the british embassy -- arthur was furious when he found out that john meant to be with betty forever. arthur is strained, stressed. he is madly in love with maude. the stress over the affair, his
marriage with betty unraveling he collapses. he continues working and collapses again. betty decides to wholeheartedly nurse him back to health. she cannot leave him now. she will make sure he gets well. she sends him to england to recover and she returns. she refers to herself as a grass widow. she meets a young polish diplomat. they have an affair. [laughter] i know. they also discussed the german occupation of austria. they would drive to the banks of the river, sunbathe naked, make love alfresco, and discuss. [laughter] this is true.
edward tells betty many things. "i love you, my darling." hitler intends to invade czechoslovakia." during the golf game, she tells him what edward has told her about hitler's plans. i don't think she told him about the alfresco lunches on the banks of the river but she says, i heard this. jack says, he is assisted with the secret intelligence service. this news will be helpful to them. by march, 1938, she is actively gathering information. they encourage her to use her romance with edward to get more information. london instructs jack shall recruit her formall -- jack
shelley to recruit her formally as an agent. they believe her charm over well. she meets the colonel general in poland. soon, he is chatting freely about contacts in berlin and his daily, secret communications with the polish foreign office. ah betty. she is practically the only agent in poland providing intelligence. she notes it is easy to make highly trained her fashionably clothed mouthed patriots give away secrets in bed. she has the magnetism. she is producing information. she gives details on the polish tiptoe analysis unit --
cryto-analysis unit. she leaves for england and finds arthur recovered. he is going to chile. she wants to go back to poland. she writes that she is in love with michael. she wants to be with him. in fact, not only that, she wants to continue working for sis. she loved doing this kind of work. it rings back the feeling she had a childhood of running until she was exhausted. she cannot go back to warsaw. her affair has made her a person of discussion there. she cannot return. she goes to chile with arthur. she wants to go back to sis.
she decides she is kind of done with eating a wife and mother. she leaves arthur and the knees and does not look back -- and denise. she visits her mother in washington and learns a mr. howard is attempting to reach her. she meets with this man in new york city. he calls himself john howard. mr. howard is a frequent alias in sis. when she meets with him in new york, he tells her she can be useful for them. he suggested she take a house or apartment in washington. he gives her a codename that will come directly from william stephenson, british secret intelligence.
"cynthia." she likes it. it suits her. he said i wanted to go to washington and rent a house. i think he preferred it would be an apartment but a house is fine. a secluded street, not a lot of traffic. this house will be useful to betty. she is requested by mr. howard to contact alberto. she hears this name and says, i have known him since i was a child. he called me his golden girl. he is now the italian naval at a ache. betty calls them at the embassy. she says, it is your golden girl, alberta.
o. he says, o, i cannot talk to you now. later, she gets a call at the house. he says, yes i would like to see you, i do remember you. he comes to the house. they have an affair. the affair consists mainly of them drinking fine, red wine talking. betty undressing. alberto lying next to her. the talk is what he mainly desires. betty responds. cynthia is a good listener. now she knows this is what he needs, just to talk. he needs to talk to a sympathetic, beautiful woman. that is fine with her. she asks him for something
special. can you get something for me? i'm sure he is thinking, diamonds, chocolates, flowers. "no, i would like the italian naval ciphers." "no, no. i cannot get those for you." "if you really think of me as her golden girl --" he gives her the name of ana man. he is in love with her. she contacts the man and arranges for him to be paid for the naval codebooks to be copied and returned. at this point, she notices men
sitting in a car outside the little house in georgetown. someone is watching her. someone notices that foreign visitors are coming to the house. i am sure they can imagine what is going on inside. at one point alberto says that the italians plan to scuttle their ships in harbors in the u.s. and blow them up. betty passes this information on and some of these plans are thwarted. the fbi will be an issue for betty. hoover writes " it is believed a discreet inquiry of miss pack may produce viable information." betty is asked to penetrate an
embassy in washington and a obtained the cipher codes. they will rely on her to use her usual methods. thatbetty has come up with a cover. she is going to pose as a freelance writer contact the embassy. she looks at the embassy directory, picks out a name, a captain. she calls, asks to speak with him, gets a lower ranked person who says "no." he does not grant interviews. she says, i want to interview him, i'm a journalist. "no. you will not speak to bruce. he cannot arrange anything like that."
this is perfect for betty. she waits an hour and calls again. this time, she gets the captain on the phone. she does a little flirting with him and says, i would like to interview you but i understand that is not something you are able to do. he says, of course i can. absolutely. she gets the interview, has a two-hour interview. she meets. she chose her outfit very carefully. she wore a green dress to match her eyes. she used all of her flirting skills. interestingly, she seems more interested in the adache than
the ambassador. she receives roses at her georgetown home. not only roses, but he shows up the next afternoon. as he walks into her home, he swoops her in his arms and carries her upstairs. she protests mildly. "oh, what are you doing?" they make love in her bedroom and she becomes his mistress. there is an anti-british
sentiment among the french and she knows that will not be effective if she lets on. the captain started working at the embassy in 1940 but served in the french air force in world war i, worked with the anglo-french intelligence in world war ii. he had a newspaper stirring in france before she came to the embassy. what is happening now, it is officially the french estate. it is based in a small city in france but paris remains the official capital. the city only controls the unoccupied zone in southern france. germany now occupies northern france and the regime posts this
regime to washington. first, the u.s. was not sure efficient if they should recognize this regime. but, they do. it is a good working relationship. he doesn't know she works british intelligence. eventually, she tells him she is helping the americans. that sort of appeals to him. there is a problem now. remember, the fbi is watching her. they could unravel everything. what if they came to the house? they do. one day when she was making love to alberto, the fbi knocked
on the door. she had to let him out and upstairs window. he climbed onto the garage roof. he is hanging onto the roof and drops to the ground. betty is worried about this happening again. she does not want this to happen to the captain. she will make a move. a more discreet location. a hotel on connecticut avenue. this is perfect. it would have been better if she had started here because it has multiple entrances -- they are meeting at the hotel, making love.
"i must have the naval ciphers." "i am not able to get into the code room." "please!" "ok." a plan is set a foot. her contact is mr. huntington. it is not just going to be betty and the captain who will go into the french embassy to get the naval codes. a gentleman called the georgia cracker will assist them. i love that name. he is a canadian, actually. i am not sure how close he ever got to georgia.
he will open a safe, remove the codebooks. they will take them to a room they have set up at the hotel. betty was at the hotel one day and knock on the door. "exterminator." she thinks it is the ei. a man says he is here to check -- "box." he goes over the room with a fine tooth comb. they set up a safe room in another apartment. this is where the codebooks will be opened, photographed, and dusted for fingerprints. then, returned to the embassy. this is the plan. the problem is at the embassy there is a nightwatchman with a
large guard dog. the captain, betty's appeal to his strong, french sentiments -- "you will help france." he says he will work late and his girlfriend will join him. he tells the security guard, "can you look the other way? i am married and this is my girlfriend and this is the only place we can meet." the guard except that. -- ac cepts that. for a few weeks, the captain and his girlfriend spend time on a sofa in his office. they keep up the fiction they are having this affair at the office.
but, it works. the guard is used to them. cynthia is worried about the guard dog but she feels all right. she has been -- it is the date of the break in. cynthia and the captain arrive at the embassy. the oss safe man is going to be let in through a window. they go in, see the guard everything is usual. she gives the guard champagne. there is a drug in the champagne. she refers to it as something sleepy but later she said she knew it was nebutol. she puts some in the dogs water dish.
the dog was ok. now, the drug is taking effect. they are still on the couch. everybody is falling asleep, the dog, the guard. they go to the window, leapt the georgia cracker in. he is working on the safe. this is an agent safe. these locks are not tumbling like they should. he finally gets it open but it is around 4:00 a.m. there is no time to remove the books, photographed them, and get them back in the safe. they will have to go in again. could send the learned to crack a safe? -- cynthia learned to crack a safe? yes. yes, she could. the georgia cracker works with
her. he cannot go back the second time. they go back the second time. that he tries to get the safe open and cannot. she has been at it for a long time. she is upset. they know the ei agents are across the street and can see them watching the -- the fbi agents are across the street watching the embassy. the second time, they did not drug the guard. betty says to the captain, get undressed. he says, we are just pretending. but, they need to be relisted now. she takes off all her close and is wearing only pearls. [laughter]
the door opens, the guard shines a flashlight on her. "oh, i'm so sorry." he goes back out. she throws on his lip. charles once her to get dressed. she was the kind of girl who went shopping without underclothes on. if a girlfriend remarked, you should wear underwear. she said, i don't have time for things like that. she starts working on the safe. she cannot get it open. now they will have to try another time. the georgia cracker will have to be enlisted again. he worked with her but they know they will have to go in another time. the next time, the georgia cracker is in and opens the safe. they get out the codebooks.
they give them the codebooks. he hands them to set the. cynthia. he drops out the window and she drops them down to him. they are photographed, fingerprints wiped off, returned to the embassy. she puts them in the safe. spins the tumbler. success. the cipher codes once obtained and photographed were sent to load london. they got there within 24 hours. the oss use them during the allied north african landing. success. cynthia was eventually transferred to oss from the british. bill donovan, head of the oss approved her to continue working until the end of the war.
he felt this collaboration had worked pretty well. now, what to do about the embassy? they needed to remove staff from the embassy. where could they put them? the hotel hershey. you might think of hershey candy. you may not know or you may know that during the war, hershey made the bulk of their chocolate for the army. there also housed the french diplomats. they kept them in the hotel hershey after they had to be removed from washington. they kept them there in style. that he wanted to join charles at the hotel hershey. the story have to be concocted. she would pose as his long-lost
daughter. his wife was approached by intelligence and she went along with this scheme. her daughter had died. that he would be posing as her late daughter. charles -- betty would be posing as her late daughter. charles would write at this point he did not even know his wife had a daughter. [laughter] that he will come to the hotel hershey -- betty will come to the hotel hershey. this worked briefly at the hotel where you can live quite comfortably. flowers delivered daily, all of the food you want. remember this is rationing in wartime in america but everything was given to them. you can use a medical excuse to
go into town anytime you wanted. she would use that all the time. she would say she feels terrible . she goes into harrisburg meeting with intelligence, giving them information she has acquired. then, charles wife catches charles and betty in bed. she rages so loudly you can hear it throughout the hotel. betty has to be sent away. she tried to sneak back to see charles. she was caught on the grounds and they said, you have to leave. she said "i am just a knotty girl -- naughty girl." eventually, after the war, betty and charles were married. he took her to his castle in
france. i want to say they lived happily ever after but they did not. so i will end it here because it gets sad later on. this is simplycynthia. she wrote "i hope and believe i was a patriot." i believe she was. i look at her face, staring out at some unknown person through the years and i think, your story needs to be told. who would be good to play her in a movie? my son said steve carell. [laughter] even with prosthetics, i don't know about that. so, thank you for listening to the tail. le. [applause]
>> i think this is almost our downtown abbey and 50 shades of grey meet the imitation game. ms. zanin: it feels very downtown abbey to me. a brief note about her child. she did see tony has a young man before he shipped to the korean war. he had grown into a beautiful young person and unfortunately died fighting to the last minute. he died with honors and was a true hero. she was comforted by that. but it just breaks your heart when he think about the baby being taken away from her. >> questions for natalie? >> we have one here. >> i didn't remember from the beginning, what year was she
born? ms. zanin: 1910. >> she was in her early 30's during the 1940's. ms. zanin: yes. age did not dim her. >> what happened to her daughter? ms. zanin: her daughter died. denise was very unhappy. her mother abandoned her and went off to live her life. in some ways, i think betty is repeating what cora did to her. she is able at some point to compartmentalize and to say, that part of my life, goodbye. i am going to work with intelligence. almost as if denise doesn't
exist for her. >> how were the diaries -- were they in possession of the family? you made a number of references to the diaries. ms. zanin: i have not had my hands on the diaries. i have seen excerpts. i think the families have been. >> you are a great storyteller. will you really not tell less the end of the story? ms. zanin: i will tell you but it is not sexy and it is sad. that he and charles were very happy for a while. then, the restlessness crept in. she was bored. she tried to alleviate the boredom. she kept up with old friends in intelligence, a lot of letter writing.
eventually, she became ill. she died -- it was a very slow and painful death. i told you it was sad. charles also died not long after. he was electrocuted by his electric like it which then set fire to the castle. i told you it was awful. i did not want to tell you. when i read that in the notes, i thought, oh my gosh, i am ending it after hotel hershey. i told my husband your electric blanket is never coming out of the package. [laughter] >> right over here. >> two questions. he started talking about british intelligence and then all the sudden, oss.
did they pass her over to oss? ms. zanin: they were cooperating at that wind and i think it was a mutual benefit for them to work together. i believe oss might have had something, i cannot confirm, something to do with the fbi detail that watched the embassy. certainly, if you are fbi and watching people every night going into the embassy as couples, -- i believe later on, the fbi may have spotted her hotel room but i am not an hundred percent certain. >> did her father and or mother have a lot of money? it sounds like they really had -- he was not just a military officer. ms. zanin: they did well. in newport, rhode island, they
really moved in yachting circles. those boats require a lot of money. >> one back here. >> it was already answered. >> right there. >> over 20 years ago, i read mary lovell's book. i was wondering what you thought. ms. zanin: i got a sense she did not really like her subject. it is thorough and beautifully detailed. there was a sense as i read it that she was not that fond of betty. when i started reading about
her, i thought, i just love this woman. it is beautifully detailed. it is worth reading. it is called "cast no shadow." there is one that is out of print by montgomery hyde. you can get it on amazon. it is very conversational. he is talking with betty shortly before she dies. she leaves a lot of things out. she is still in her flirtatious mode. she wants to come across well to hyde. she is not as detailed about certain things. she never named her lover carlos to him. she kept referring to him as antonio.
>> was there an exchange of embassy personnel between the embassies in paris? were they kept visitors -- prisoners? ms. zanin: they were kept prisoners the whole time and some of them who want to become americans were allowed to do so. some were shipped off to warm springs. the people of her she understandably less than thrilled. stories were circulating through harrisburg about how the french are living in the hotel. after a while, people were very open with their pro-nazi sympathies, it was deemed it a
should be moved out of the hotel. then, the hotel goes back to being a proper hotel. >> natalie, thank you so much for a fascinating story. [applause] let me thank the smithsonian volunteers for joining us throughout the series. thank you. [applause] have a great rest of your day. be careful on the red line. [laughter] >> this weekend, the c-span cities tour has partnered with cox to medications to learn about the literary life of all succumb oklahoma. >> phillips 66 with the company he founded just north of us here in tulsa, which became the
headquarters. today, you still see the familiar phillips 66 shield. it has become a familiar to many people out here as a coke bottle. it is iconic in the minds of many motorists. he was part of that flamboyant oil fraternity that came out of the early -- late 19th century into the 20th century. these were men who had amazingly solid egos. they were very sure of themselves. that was important. but, he was human.
that is all part of the story, the good, the bad, the ugly. he was many things. but always, first and foremost he was an oilman. >> watch all of our events from tulsa. >> each week, american history tv sits in on a lecture with one of the nation's college professors. you can watch the classes here every saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. eastern. next, charles obstacles president ulysses s. grant faced and what he accomplished. he describes how president grant's military background and personality influenced a variety of the decisions he made during his two terms in office. professor calhoun was a guest lecturer in this class at the u.s. naval war college in
newport, rhode island. this is about 90 minutes. >> it is my honor to introduce to you professor charles calhoun, professor emeritus from used carolina university to talk about -- from east carolina university to talk about resident grant. with that, i will turn it over. professor calhoun: thank you very much, colonel borg. i know he did a lot of the background work here as well. as professor borg indicated, i am going to be talking about president ulysses s. grant. i have a couple caveats.