1942: Eloise Page

First Female CIA Chief of Station

Starting her career as secretary to William J. Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – the precursor to the CIA – Eloise Page became one of the CIA's first employees when it was established in 1947. She gained a passion for intelligence work in the OSS, including an assignment in 1945 to Brussels, Belgium, where she helped open the first post-war U.S. intelligence station.

When the CIA was created, Page worked in what would later become the Directorate of Operations, where she became a case officer. Over the next 30 years, Page rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the DO's Number 3 officer and the first female CIA Chief of Station (COS) – the highest job for case officers abroad. She was a well-known expert on terrorism and was nicknamed "the iron butterfly" by colleagues in the Defense Department for being a petite, genteel southern lady who was a fierce fighter in the workplace.

In addition to becoming the first female COS, Page was the first woman to serve as the Deputy Director of the Intelligence Community staff and Chairman of the Critical Collection Problems Committee, responsible for allocating collection assets on critical problems facing the United States. The Defense Intelligence College invited her to join their faculty after retirement. She received the Distinguished Intelligence Medal when she retired in 1987 at the age of 67 and a CIA Trailblazer award in 1997 for her contributions to the Agency. Throughout her career, Page served as a role model for many at CIA because of her operational skills and exceptional management capability.

Read more about Eloise Page on the CIA website.