About J. Edgar Hoover
One of the most influential and controversial figures in law enforcement history, J. Edgar Hoover was Director of the Bureau of Investigation (later the Federal Bureau of Investigation) from 1924 until his death in 1972. His insistence on well-educated, well-dressed, professional agents combined with his focus on using science to solve crimes helped usher in a new way of policing in America. At the same time, Hoover’s obsession with ridding the nation of anyone whose thoughts and activities he considered “un-American” led to the use of some questionable, and possibly illegal, investigative techniques. All this to say – J. Edgar Hoover was a complicated individual. Unraveling the real person from the stories, myths, and legends might be impossible, but there are few clues left that give some insight into the person, and not just the Director.
Thanks to the generous donation of artifacts from The J. Edgar Hoover Foundation, the National Law Enforcement Museum is pleased to present objects from Hoover’s estate that reveal a side of this man that is unfamiliar to many. Beyond the Bureau, who was Hoover, and what was he about? This unique collection offers a glimpse into what the man behind the desk was like outside the office.
Before the FBI
Born in 1895 to Anna Marie and Dickerson Naylor Hoover, John Edgar was a native of Washington, DC, where he lived his entire life. He had two older siblings, but both moved out when he was young, leaving him alone with his parents. Hoover was an engaged citizen from an early age, keeping a journal and writing a weekly newsletter for his neighbors as a kid. He excelled in school, especially on the debate team, and loved being a member of his high school’s cadet corps, a junior ROTC program.
Fun for the Director
Everyone has hobbies, and Hoover was no exception. He enjoyed his leisure time, and for him that included fishing, playing golf, and trips to the horse races in nearby Maryland. Have a look at some of the FBI Director’s vacation photos to see how he blew off steam.