A SPY'S TALE
Mata Hari embodied all the romance of espionage and remains the most famous female spy in history. The iconic exotic dancer turned World War I spy is said to have seduced diplomats and military officers into giving up their secrets. In February 1917, French authorities arrested her for espionage after intercepting an enemy telegram implicating her as a German spy. She was accused of revealing details of the Allies' new weapon, found guilty and sentenced to death.
On October 15, Mata Hari went before a 12-man French firing squad to face her destiny. A dramatic performer to the very end, she refused to wear a blindfold or to be tied up—and as the soldiers raised their rifles, she blew a final kiss.
ICONIC MATA HARI BODICE
Nearly 100 years later, no female spy has captured the imagination of the public like Mata Hari. From her legendary conquests to her exotic costumes, she remains the archetype of the femme fatale, the seductive spy. In our collection, the Spy Museum holds what is purported to be one of Mata Hari's metallic bodices – an elaborately worked gold filigree bra. The bustier is a significant memento of the seductive spy's provocative public persona.
Due to its age, the bodice is in fragile condition and cannot be currently exhibited. Join our mission and help conserve this iconic costume for generations to come.
The Museum is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit and operates completely independent of tax money or government funding. Our core mission is to educate the public about espionage and intelligence in an engaging way and to provide a context that fosters understanding of its important role in and impact on current and historic events. We rely on generous donors like you to support the Museum's research, exhibitions, and educational programming. Thank you!