Online Encyclopedia Search Tool

Your Online Encyclopedia


Online Encylopedia and Dictionary Research Site

Online Encyclopedia Free Search Online Encyclopedia Search    Online Encyclopedia Browse    welcome to our free dictionary for your research of every kind

Online Encyclopedia

J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 - May 2, 1972) was appointed Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 10, 1924 and remained so until his death in 1972. To date, he is the longest-serving leader of an executive branch agency in the United States, having served under a record eight presidents, from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, and indeed it is because of Hoover that future FBI Directors were limited to a term of ten years. He is credited with creating an effective law enforcement organization, but was also accused of flagrantly abusing his authority in blackmailing notable public figures and unwarrantably engaging in political persecution . Hoover's COINTELPRO program allowed FBI agents to harass, disrupt, and destroy 'enemies' such as the Black Panther Party and other leftist political organizations.

He was born in Washington, DC, but the details of his early life are almost unknown; a birth certificate for him was not filed until 1938. All known information can be usually traced back to a single 1937 profile by the journalist Jack Alexander. He was educated at George Washington University, graduating in 1917 with a degree in law. During his time there he became a member of Kappa Alpha Order (Alpha Nu '14), and in 1966 would receive the Distinguished Achievement Award for his role as Director of the FBI. Rather than enlisting for World War I, he found work with the Justice Department. He soon proved himself capable and was promoted to head the Enemy Aliens Registration Section. In 1919 he became head of the new General Intelligence Division of the Justice Department (see the Palmer Raids). From there in 1921 he joined the Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as deputy head and in 1924 the Attorney General made him director.

When Hoover took over the FBI it had approximately 650 employees, including 441 Special Agents. It was renamed and empowered as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935. In 1939 the FBI became pre-eminent in the field of domestic intelligence.

Hoover in c.1935
Hoover in c.1935
Evidently, Hoover amassed significant power by collecting files on people, especially politicians, that were kept off of the official FBI records. This unofficial legacy is speculative because his secretary of decades, (Miss) Helen Gandy, spent the days after Hoover's death destroying all of these files.

Speculation and rumors that Hoover was Censored page and, as well, a secret cross-dresser, have never been confirmed. However, Hoover's right-hand man, Clyde Tolson, was a constant companion for more than 40 years, and they often vacationed together. Hoover and Tolson were both lifelong bachelors and Hoover lived with his mother until her death in 1938 when he was 43 years old. Hoover was raised a devout Presbyterian, considered the ministry as a career, and used this publicly known fact to render his personal conduct, sexually or otherwise, unimpeachable during his tenure at the FBI.

An FBI memorandum dated June 11, 1943 mentions rumors of Hoover being "Censored page" and keeping "a large group of young boys around him," and notes that such rumors had circulated since at least two years earlier. The memorandum declares such rumors are "malicious and unfounded" and "libelous." [1]

The crossdressing theory was the inspiration for a running joke in an episode of the science-fiction series Sliders when the dimension traveling humans came to an Earth where J. Edgar Hoover established a dictatorship after John F. Kennedy's assassination. Both male and female police officers wore what the characters thought to be kilts. When the characters discussed the strange attire, one offered an answer he read from a "scurilous" book which proposed that Hoover and Tolson were crossdressers and that the "kilts" might in fact be "skirts."

External links

  • "Assassinating" J. Edgar Hoover
  • The FBI Needs Another Hoover
  • Hoover's dark secret?

Last updated: 02-07-2005 08:24:20
Last updated: 02-25-2005 21:16:14