The Secret Seeker:

The Historical Detective


Vanessa Braganza

Author, Book Historian, Literary Critic

Sometimes, the voices of the past speak to us in strange tongues and unexpected forms.

For Vanessa Braganza, work is an immersion in the whispers of cryptic voices from the Renaissance - in messages sent in secret and hidden in plain sight. Unbeknownst to many, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw a revolution in cryptography in England unparalleled until the codebreakers of World War II. In Braganza's exploration of this historical underworld and the voices it conceals and preserves, she encountered an unsolved cipher designed by Hans Holbein, King Henry VIII's royal painter. Her quest to uncover the secrets of this symbol (she describes the process of decoding ciphers as "early modern Wordle") led to uncovering of its connections to Katherine of Aragon, Henry's first queen - and her hitherto unknown connections to the beginnings of cryptic writing at the Tudor court.

Join us for this exciting dinner and talk as Braganza unravels the mystery of Katherine of Aragon and her ciphers.


  • Salad
    • Strawberry Citrus Salad (Vegan, GF) Strawberry and orange segments with arugula, spinach, cucumbers, and red onions tossed with a honey orange vinaigrette
  • Entrées
    • Pan-roasted Lemon Thyme Chicken Breast (GF) Chicken topped with a lemon vinaigrette
    • Summer Shrimp Provençale (GF) Gulf shrimp tossed with heirloom summer tomato, garlic, onions, corn and finished with rooftop herbs
    • Beyond Meat Cacciatore (Vegan, GF) Topped with mushroom, grilled onion, and roasted tomatoes
  • Sides
    • Roasted Haricots Verts & Baby Carrots (Vegan, GF)
    • Couscous with Roasted Tomato & Herbs
  • Dessert
    • Chef’s assorted sweets

Plus beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee & tea

This event is run by the Harvard Club of Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP!!!

Mass transit: Metro Center

2d7143f7-bea9-4473-9944-126b30e49e37_1_.jpgVanessa Braganza is a writer and book detective pursuing her PhD in English literature at Harvard and her JD at Columbia Law School. Her historical detective work has been featured in The New York Times, the Times, and Smithsonian Magazine. She has also published in a variety of academic journals and volumes, most recently the Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Women's Writing (2022,) and she writes regularly for Smithsonian Magazine. She is currently at work on her first book, The Secret - Seekers: A Detective's Quest to Decipher the Renaissance.

August 21, 2023 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Hogan Lovells

555 13th St NW
13th fl
Washington, DC 20004
United States

Julia Cain


$60.00 USD

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