Louvinia Jordan was born on a farm in Ether, North Carolina, in 1922. She worked in the garden and took care of her family’s animals such as a guinea pig and a pet squirrel. Jordan’s father, Cornelius Vanderbilt Kerns, was a farmer and gifted mathematician who passed many of his skills to his children. In high school Jordan won a scholarship to Elon College, where she was studying Home Economics when the United States entered World War II.
She interviewed for a job with the Signal Corps, which manages communication systems for the U.S. Military. The Corps transferred her to Washington, D.C., where she passed the exam to become a cryptographic clerk. Known as “codebreakers,” the clerks were mostly women who worked in a top secret office at Arlington Hall Station, a former girl’s school in Virginia. Their duties were to find patterns or sequences in messages intercepted from the Japanese and pass them to the military officials in charge. Jordan made $1,902.00 a year and worked alongside women who had attended Howard University and Vassar College. Jordan later took a job with the Veterans Administration.
After the war she married James Jordan, a veteran of the war in the Pacific, and worked as a bookkeeper for the Wilson Daily Times newspaper in Wilson, North Carolina. She moved to Rome, Georgia, to be close to her daughter after her husband died. She joined the Rome chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association in 2010.