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Updated September 27, 2012  

Published April 8, 2012

Beale Treasure Story

  
  
  

    
My Biography 
   
  
This page is about me. It contains a history of what I've done, the formal education and training I received, and the achievements and awards I managed to attain. I'll try to keep it brief.
  
I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on July 19, 1940. I received the usual education, grades 1 through 12. In 1958 I was awarded the John Fox Scholarship in physics at Western Michigan University (WMU). I received a BS degree from WMU in 1962, with majors in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, after being named "Best Graduating Student in Physics." In 1962, I entered the United States Navy and was shortly afterwards commissioned as an officer. In 1963, I received my wings as a Naval Aviator, and subsequently completed a 5-year tour of duty in the fleet as a helicopter pilot. I left the Navy in 1967, having advanced to the grade of Lieutenant, and having received a commercial pilot's license.
     
That same year, I joined IBM as a Systems Engineer. In 1970, I was granted a four-year leave of absence in order to enter the University of Iowa's graduate program, having been awarded a position in the University's Computer Center. I received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 1974.
  
I had an interest in codes and ciphers even as a kid. But I became even more fascinated with the subject after reading about the Beale ciphers in the August 1964 issue of Argosy Magazine. Little wonder that my Ph.D. dissertation was entitled "A Computer Oriented Cryptanalytic Solution for Multiple Substitution Enciphering Systems," with the distinction of being the first Ph.D. dissertation on the subject of cryptography or cryptanalysis in the U.S., perhaps the world. As there was no professor in the Computer Science Department with a background or interest to work on this problem, I resorted to interviewing a number of professors outside the department until finding one (Dr. John Robinson) who would work on the problem with me. My colleague and mentor, Dr. Carl Hammer, chief scientist at UNIVAC, and founder of the Beale Cypher Association, was invited as an "ad hoc" member of my thesis committee.
  
Upon graduation (1974), I relocated to Poughkeepsie, NY, where I joined IBM"s "Computer Security and Privacy Department." In 1978, I transferred to IBM's "Cryptography Center of Competence" in Kingston, NY. In 1982, I published a book Cryptography: A New Dimension in Computer Data Security, co-authored with my colleague and co-worker Dr. Carl Meyer. The 750-page book took seven and one half years to write. It received the American Association of Publishers "Best Book in Technology" award for 1982. Dr. Meyer and I also contributed sections of the book Telecommunications in the U.S.—Trends and Policies, 1981. And together with Dr. Don Coppersmith at IBM Research, we contributed an article on "Cryptography" published in four editions of McGraw-Hill's Encyclopedia of Science and Technology.
  
In 1979, I became a member of the newly formed Beale Cypher Association (BCA), and remained so until the association was disbanded in 1997. During that period, I made presentations at the BCA symposiums, which were published in the symposium's proceedings, and I published, together with my colleague and professor of history, Dr. Albert C. Leighton, two papers in professional journals about book ciphers. During the same period, I was interviewed for newspaper articles about the Beale treasure story, and I appeared on Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe "Cracking Codes" TV program.
  
In 2001, I retired from IBM with 33.5 years of service (23 years working in IBM's Cryptography Center of Competence, mostly designing cryptographic systems and algorithms implemented in IBM's line of security products), having achieved the illustrious title of "Distinguished Engineer."
    
During my IBM career, I authored more than 90 publications dealing with cryptology, and I was the inventor or co-inventor of nearly 100 IBM-filed patent applications, each dealing with cryptography. Also, I received a number of IBM-internal awards for work-related achievements, including the Federal System Company President's Patent Award and an IBM Outstanding Innovation Award.
  
Upon retiring, I had time to undertake projects that were impossible to even contemplate while pursuing a career. One of these was to publish a checklist of books printing the U.S. Declaration of Independence (DOI). In 1979, I had begun collecting books (1776-1900) that printed the full text of the DOI. I visited libraries in order to locate works printing the DOI. I researched and gathered information about each work. In 2009, I published a book entitled DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: A Checklist of Books, Pamphlets, and Periodicals, Printing the U.S Declaration of Independence, 1776-1825. Due to this bibliographic achievement, I was subsequently invited to become an honorary member in the prestigious American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.
  
That same year, I entered and won the WIN A BOOKSELLER contest sponsored by the Advanced Book Exchange (a.k.a. ABE or Abebooks), being one of roughly 200 entrants. The essay described my collecting interest and my collection of DOI books. An announcement of the winning essay and the winning essay itself are posted on the Abebooks website, and for that reason information in the essay is not repeated here.
  
In 2011, I published two books about the Beale treasure story, the second being a continuation of the first. A description of the books and guidelines for purchasing the books are available on this website. These books contain information collected over a period of nearly 47 years.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
     

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