J. EDGAR HOOVER (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972) was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Instrumental in founding the FBI, Hoover was first appointed as the fifth director of the Bureau of Investigation, predecessor to the FBI. Hoover is credited with building the agency into a large crime fighting organization. He also involved the agency in many illegal abuses of power, spying and maintaining files on politicians, including sitting presidents, actors and many others who dared to criticize the agency or the government.
Hoover was believed to be gay by many and to have been the lover of Clyde Tolson, who became as associate director of the FBI and Hoover’s primary heir. Hoover hunted down and threatened anyone who made accusations about his sexual persuasion. Tolson and Hoover took vacations together, often dined out and were frequently seen together. Hoover bequeathed his estate to Tolson, who moved into Hoover’s house after he died. The two are buried a few yards apart in the Congressional Cemetery.
Offering a 6 ½ x 9 TLS from Hoover on his FBI stationary, dated September 30, 1935, to Leonard Lyons, a columnist for the New York Post, in which Hoover refences Tolson twice.
“I want you to know how much Tolson and I enjoyed our recent visit.
“I am enclosing herewith a copy of a letter which I have forwarded to Mr. David Stern, Publisher of the New York Post, and I do hope that what I have said to Mr. Stern will be helpful to you [The copy of the letter is included with this original Hoover letter.]. I am also enclosing an autographed photograph for Joseph and Martin Schildkraut, your nephews, which I hope they will like. I have arranged for your name to be placed on our mailing list here, and from time to time I will forward to you information concerning the work of the Bureau in which you may be interested.
“Tolson and I are looking forward to your visit to Washington, so be sure to let us know when you are coming and how much time you will have here.
“Please express my very best regards to Mrs. Lyons. With kind regards, I am
J. Edgar Hoover”
In the copy of the letter to Stern, which Hoover references, also dated September 30, 1935, Hoover states:
“On several occasions when I have visited in New York City, I have met and talked with one of the men connected with your organization, Mr. Leonard Lyons, who has a daily column in the Post. I have been very much impressed with Mr. Lyons, and have noted his progress with interest. He impresses me as being very sincere, and I feel that he has a future in newspaper work. One of the standing orders in my office is that Mr. Lyons’ column each day shall be placed on my desk, as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr. Lyons’ comments on current topics.
“I thought you would want to have me write you concerning my impressions of one of the representatives of your publication.
“With kind regards, I am
The Hoover letter to Lyons has folds, light toning and a paper clip mark in the upper left. Unusual to find letters in which Hoover mentions Tolson.
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