Elizabeth Van Lew
Elizabeth Van Lew poses in profile for this albumen silver carte-de-visite taken by Philadelphia photographer A. J. De Morat. Van Lew was a Richmond Unionist and abolitionist who spied for the United States government during the Civil War. Leading a network of a dozen or so white and African American women and men, she relayed information on Confederate operations to Union generals and assisted in the care and sometimes escape of Union prisoners of war being held in the Confederate capital. Van Lew, who worked with invisible ink and coded messages, has been called "the most skilled, innovative, and successful" of all Civil War–era spies.