Working together & Networks of Female Spies With Dr. Tammy Proctor

Tammy M. Proctor is a Distinguished Professor of History and the current History Department Head at Utah State University, teaching modern European and world history. Dr. Proctor’s recent publications include An English Governess in the Great War: The Secret Diary of Mary Thorp (2017) with Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Gender and the Great War (2017) with Susan Grayzel, and World War I: A Short History (2017). She is presently working on a study of American humanitarian aid in Europe from 1914-1924.

“How did women’s work contribute to the propagation of war, and impact their own changing relation to the nation-state? How did women themselves, their contemporaries, and popular culture represent their war work in gendered terms? Tammy Proctor addresses these significant questions in her intriguing study of women spies. As Proctor shows, women’s substantial work for the developing British intelligence service belied the figure of the treacherous and seductive woman spy.”

-Angela Woollacott, author of On Her Their Lives Depend: Munitions Workers in the Great War

Have you heard of the girl guides? Girl Guide troops were a group of females that ‘spied’ for the MI5, carrying messages back and forth during the second year of World War I. These girls were aged 14-16. Dr. Tammy Proctor goes into some of these spies, like Mata Hari, an exotic dancer and spy executed by the French government after being convicted of being a spy for Germany. In this episode, Tammy and Wyatt discuss her research on historical girl guide troops, nurses, prostitutes, and casual informants – And how women were vital in moving information across enemy lines during World War I.

Bet you didn’t hear much about this in the history books.

Further along in this podcast Tammy and Wyatt discuss the 1918 Spanish Influenza. Countries getting hit with the flu didn’t want to let others know about their sick soldiers, but Spain was neutral and spread the word, leading to the name “Spanish Flu”. Fun fact: Spain publicized the pandemic, but the flu actually started in the Midwest United States. Keep listening in and learn how insight on the 1918 pandemic is useful for us today during the Covid-19.

Written by Ari Romo