Genevieve Young Hitt was born on May 29 1885 in Texas. Genevieve received her introduction to ciphers from her husband, Colonel Parker Hitt. She became proficient in using the sliding strip deciphering device that Parker developed.  Genevieve also assisted in the compilation of her husband’s seminal work, Manual for the Solution of Military Ciphers, published by the Army in 1916.

While Genevieve and her husband were stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the Army put them both to work analyzing intercepted Mexican government messages. This work likely made Mrs. Hitt the first woman to serve the U.S. government as a cryptologist. When her husband was sent overseas during World War I, Mrs. Hitt moved to Fort Sam Houston to be near her family. Soon, the Army began sending Genevieve intercepted enciphered radio messages, which she routinely deciphered without receiving a salary. In April 1918, Genevieve was placed in charge of code work for the Southern Department’s Intelligence Officer, Robert L. Barnes, for the salary of $1,000 per year. She worked 5 ½ days per week (plus overtime) coding and decoding official Army intelligence correspondence, maintaining control of the Army codebooks in the department, and breaking intercepted coded and enciphered messages.