J. Edgar Hoover

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Hoover, J. Edgar

(John Edgar Hoover), 1895–1972, American administrator, director of the Federal Bureau of InvestigationFederal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI), division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice charged with investigating all violations of federal laws except those assigned to some other federal agency.
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 (FBI), b. Washington, D.C. Shortly after he was admitted to the bar, he entered (1917) the Dept. of Justice and served (1919–21) as special assistant to Attorney General A. Mitchell PalmerPalmer, Alexander Mitchell
, 1872–1936, American politician, b. Moosehead, Pa. Admitted (1893) to the bar, he built up a large law practice, became a leader in the state Democratic party, and served (1909–15) in Congress.
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. In this capacity he directed the so-called Palmer Raids against allegedly radical aliens. Director of the Bureau of Investigation (renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935) after 1924, Hoover built a more efficient crime-fighting agency, establishing a centralized fingerprint file, a crime laboratory, and a training school for police. During the 1930s, to publicize the work of his agency in fighting organized crime, he participated directly in the arrest of several major gangsters. After World War II, Hoover focused on the perceived threat of Communist subversion. In office until his death, he became increasingly controversial. His many critics considered his anticommunism obsessive, and it has been verified that he orchestrated systematic harassment of political dissenters and activists, including Martin Luther KingKing, Martin Luther, Jr.,
1929–68, American clergyman and civil-rights leader, b. Atlanta, Ga., grad. Morehouse College (B.A., 1948), Crozer Theological Seminary (B.D., 1951), Boston Univ. (Ph.D., 1955).
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, Jr. Hoover accumulated enormous power, in part from amassing secret files on the activities and private lives of political leaders and their associates. After his death reforms designed to prevent these abuses were undertaken. His writings include Persons in Hiding (1938), Masters of Deceit (1958), and A Study of Communism (1962).


See biographies by T. G. Powers (1987), A. G. Theoharis (1988), and C. Gentry (1991); D. J. Garrow, The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1981); K. O'Reilly, Hoover and the Un-Americans (1983); A. G. Theoharis and J. S. Cox, The Boss (1988); B. Burrough, Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34 (2004).

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Hoover, J. (John) Edgar

(1895–1972) director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, lawyer, criminologist; born in Washington, D.C. He attended night classes at George Washington University while working as a clerk at the Library of Congress. After being admitted to the District of Columbia bar (1917) he became special assistant to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and led the controversial "Palmer Raids" against alleged seditionists. Advancing from assistant (1921) to director (1924) of the Bureau of Investigation (which became the FBI in 1935), he remained director under every president from Coolidge to Nixon. Hoover emphasized modern technological investigative techniques, improved training, and obtained increased funding from Congress. During the 1930s, FBI exploits against notorious gangsters made him a national hero. In the 1940s and 1950s he became well-known for his anti-Communist and antisubversive views and activities. In the 1960s he became a problematic political figure due to his lack of sympathy for the civil rights movement and the Kennedy administration. His reputation declined in later years following revelations concerning his vendettas against liberal activists, notably Martin Luther King Jr., and widespread illegal FBI activities.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Had he been J. Edgar Hoover, we would just say, hey, he's got the goods on everyone.
The popular concept of J. Edgar Hoover as America's incorruptible law enforcement giant is called into question as Hack leads listeners through a life focused on image, power, and the cultivation of privilege.
The FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, recommended in confidential messages that Einstein should not be privy to any secrets of the atomic bomb and agreed that he probably should be deported.
It seems incredible now that J. Edgar Hoover, who ran the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation as an absolute monarch from 1924 till his sudden death in May 1972, should once have possessed "a name at which the world grew pale".
Over the next 60 years, the UCR Program was located in several different buildings in the Nation's capitol, including the J. Edgar Hoover Building (center photo).
A lifelong bureaucrat and media genius/whore, whose career echoes those of J. Edgar Hoover and Estes Kefauver (the Midwestern senator who was one of the principal proponents of comic-book censorship), Anslinger paved the way for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
It's not often you find fbi chief J. Edgar Hoover in the same company as Cardinal Francis J.
Williams takes a thoughtful, unflinching look at Marshall's "intense, unpublicized dance" with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who hounded Martin Luther King Jr., and other black leaders.
Most studies of the first decade of J. Edgar Hoover's directorship of the FBI fail to note the consonance of federal policing power in the early 1930's and the overall view of government embodied in the New Deal: that the exercise of governmental power was generally benevolent, and that federal intervention would revitalize, rather than undermine, local institutions.
Responding to pressure from France and England, the United States government unleashed J. Edgar Hoover and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to pursue means--any means necessary--to dismantle Garvey's organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
J. Edgar Hoover, Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra--all successful "heroes"--sit close to the action of the game.
There are frequent and amateurish attempts at psychoanalyzing J. Edgar Hoover by the author and his interviewees.