Born in 1895, John Edgar Hoover was the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.). He began working in U.S. government service in 1913, first at the Library of Congress, then at the Justice Department. During World War I, Hoover worked for the Bureau of Investigation, keeping statistical records of immigrants for the Alien Enemy Bureau.
A vigorous anti-communist, Hoover quickly moved up the ranks and in 1924 was appointed Director of the Bureau of Investigation (later called the Federal Bureau of Investigation). He held the post from 1924 to 1972, an administration that lasted from President Coolidge to President Nixon. He wielded immense political power over five decades and is a central figure in the history of scandal and U.S. politics.
Hoover had a reputation for hyper vigilance in the face of crime and political subversion. Under his dictatorial rule, the F.B.I. kept files on just about everybody, from gangsters and spies to actors, such as Marilyn Monroe, and pop culture figures, such as John Lennon.