Skip to Main Content

Mata Hari: Topics in Chronicling America

In the early 20th century, exploits of Mata Hari, a female German spy, captivated newspaper audiences. This guide provides access to material related to "Mata Hari" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Photograph of Mata Hari. December 8, 1921. The Evening World (New York, NY), Image 24. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

A famous, beautiful dancer, Mata Hari is prominent in European society and enjoys many admirers. When her secret life as a German spy is discovered, however, the game she loves proves fatal. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


June 25, 1905 Reports of Mata Hari’s unique, exotic dancing in Paris.
June 27, 1908 Mata Hari reappears in limelight after mysterious disappearance.
July 25, 1917 Mata Hari is sentenced to execution by firing squad. She is accused of being a spy for Germany.
September 28, 1917 Final appeal fails; Mata Hari is sentenced to death.
October 15, 1917 Mata Hari executed at sunrise by firing squad.
1918 Mata Hari’s autobiography runs in installments for seven weeks in The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
July 17, 1922 An old lover of Hari’s is discovered seeking solace in Spanish monastery.