May 2012

Famous Spies: William Wickham

William Wickham was, like many who ended up in the spying game during the 18th century, born into a world of wealth and privilege.  He started by acquiring a law degree from a prestigious British academy and then entered into the field of diplomacy.  He performed in a number of other political roles and would eventually end up as ambassador to Switzerland though his chief duty would always be acting as a spymaster for the British government.

At the time, the relationship between England and France was a violent one.  The French Revolution was in full swing and England had a vested interest in overthrowing the ‘upstart’ Napoleon Bonaparte and establishing King Louis XVIII as the new king of France.  Wickham worked his end by organizing a spy network in Switzerland and France, seeking to corrupt various French elements into turning on their new leaders.  He also attempted to bring other foreign powers into the fight in hopes of overwhelming France from both within and without.

Famous Spies: Richard Sorge

Richard Sorge was born October 4, 1985 in the country of Azerbaijan during the time of its occupation by Imperial Russia.  His father was German and his mother Russian, and eventually Sorge would end up traveling to Germany due to his father’s business.  He might have ended up having a career as a soldier, but when fighting during World War I he suffered an accident which would put him out of active duty permanently.  As a result he entered the field of teaching, though was fired and forced to flee back to Russia because of his communist beliefs.  In Russia he would be recruited as a spy - a turn of fate that would determine the outcome of his life.

Famous Spies: Charlotte de Sauve

Charlotte de Sauve was the classic model of a skilled player within the world of intrigue that dominated the French court during the 16th and 17th centuries.  She was born a French noblewoman, sometime around 1551.  Due to influence and luck, she would enter into the household of the Queen Mother Catherine de’Medici and join her famous ‘Flying Squadron’ as a seductress and spy.  This would lead to her becoming the mistress of Henry IV, Catherine’s own son-in-law.  Over the years, de Sauve was married several times, in each case to an important and influential man.  She was known for being exceptionally intelligent and politically savvy, making her a force to be reckoned with.

Famous Spies: Allan Pinkerton

Allan Pinkerton, born August 25, 1819 in Glasgow, Scotland was not so much a spy as an innovator of the methodology of detective work.  He was born a cooper and practiced this trade for much of his early life, but was destined to enter the world of law enforcement.  He emigrated from Scotland to the United States and lived outside of Chicago for a time, working as a cooper until becoming involved in police work.

The famous Pinkerton National Detective Agency was founded in 1852 and was the first official detective agency in the US.  Pinkerton’s successes caused demand for his skills to skyrocket.  He became involved in solving a number of cases, from train robberies to hunting down fugitives from the law.