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Giddings Field Message Book
Message Pad with US Army Cipher Disk

The Giddings Field Message Book was a small pocket book with a multi-page note pad and a built-in US Army Cipher Disk. It was intended for use in the field by soldiers who needed to issue secure messages during the Spanish-American War in 1898.
 
The image on the right shows the Message Book in use. Message were encrypted using the hard-paper cipher disc that was mounted inside the flap. This US Army Cipher Disk was similar to the Confederate Cipher Disc.

Once sent, the encyphered messages were stored in a pocket of the flap. Copies of the message were created using a piece of carbon paper that was stored at the back of the book. The book itself had a green leather cover. When closed, the two halves were held together with a pencil that was inserted at the front.
  
The Message-Book in use. At the top is the US Army Cipher Disk

The book was designed by Major Howard A. Giddings of the Brigadier Signal Officer Office of the Connecticut National Guard. It was published by Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co. in Kansas City (Missouri, USA) and was first mentioned in the Privates' Handbook [1] of 1898. At the time, a soldier would pay USD 1.00 for it. Full instruction are at the back of the book.

Although the Spanish-American war of 1898 was a conflict between Spain and the United States about Cuba, it involved the Caribbean and the Pacific, including the Philippines [2] . When found, the Field Message-Book shown here contained a Cablegram message inside its pocket. The message was sent in 1901 and was received by the Headquarters Division of the Philippines.
 
Closed field message-book The Message-Book in use. At the top is the US Army Cipher Disk Inserting the pencil Opened message book US Army Cipher Disk in top flap US Army Cipher Disk Carbon Paper for creating a Cabon Copy (CC) Close-up of the 1901 Cablegram found inside the pocket of the Field Message-Book.

 
References
  1. Melvin Weston Rowell, Privates' Handbook of Military Courtsesy and Guard Duty
    Issue 10 March 1898, p.62.

  2. Wikipedia, Spanish-American War

Further information

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