Page 23 : Beale Ciphers Analyses
The genuine booklet: The Beale Papers
I thank Peter Viemeister, author of The Beale Treasure - NEW History of a Mystery, for sharing his wealth of information in the creation of this page.
There are two original copies of The Beale Papers known to exist.
The first is best described by Mr. Viemeister, "... was owned by an elderly person who would let me copy it but would not part with it nor let it out of the house. I bought a portable Canon copier for the sole purpose of going to their home so I could copy it. It was indeed a real pamphlet. I spent some effort cleaning up specks and flaws and then reproduced it in my copyright book...". He did not release the identity of that owner.
The second was purchased by a rare book collector in the spring of 2008, "reportedly for several thousand dollars". For this transaction, Mr. Viemeister was called upon to verify that it was indeed an original, and not the one he had reproduced previously. You can read about the owner, his rare book collection, and his work on the Beale codes here.
There had been another, purchased from James B. Ward by Clayton Hart. In 1925, the Hart brothers gave it to Col. George Fabyan of Riverbank Laboratories, a reputed WW1 cryptologist, hoping to get his help in solving the ciphers. Col. Fabyan was also the mentor to Wm Friedman who then inherited the pamphlet. A copy of it, badly damaged is now held by the George C. Marshall Foundation library in Lexington, Virginia, as part of their collection of William Friedman papers. The original seems lost.
This Marshall copy was referenced by Pauline B. Innis in her book Gold in the Blue Ridge: The True Story of the Beale Treasure.
A researcher of Col. Wm. Friedman's files at the Marshall foundation discovered this letter addressed to Mr. Friedman by an associate who was describing his visit to Lynchburg in the spring of 1949 in search of information on The Beale Papers. It references, on the third page, an original copy descended through J. B. Ward's family. Another letter written by Mrs. Elizabeth Friedman to Clayton Hart in 1938 clearly states her opinion about the whole story.
I contacted a researcher at the Marshall library and was informed as follows: "...what we have is a copy and not a very good one. There were some holes in the text and someone filled in the missing text on the copy....".
Richard Greaves has provided me with a full copy of the Marshall specimen. Two pages are reproduced below.
These images were later posted by FOX television on their website about their series Million Dollar Mysteries, for which Mr. Viemeister was consultant for the Beale episode. Minor cosmetic alterations may have been made by FOX, but for all intents and purposes they are an accurate reproduction of the original. They can be seen here: http://rogergrambihler.tripod.com/BealeHoax.htm#_Reprint_of_the_Beale_Papers. This website is also notable for its detailed analysis of the errors in the C2/DOI decryption.
If you have any information on the existence of other copies, please email me.
Examples of the Marshall Foundation Library specimen
Back to homepage