Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 237

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Description: J. EDGAR HOOVER
(1895 - 1972) Controversial Director of the F.B.I. who built the organization into the world's finest investigative agency. An archive of 48 T.Ls.S. 1p. ea., 4to. on Federal Bureau of Investigation letterhead, Feb. 15, 1935 to Nov. 25, 1964 addressed to or concerning Special Agent William A. Johnson, of Haverhill, Mass. who began his career at the F.B.I. as a messenger in August 1935. Johnson had applied to be a Special Agent, but Hoover noted to Rep. A. Piatt Andrew, that the Johnson did not "possess the requisite qualifications for appointment to the position of Special Agent, that the applicant must be between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five years, a graduate of a recognized law or accounting school, or that the applicant must have had extensive investigative or law-enforcement experience..." Johnson bided his time, working his way up the pay scale, until Hoover offered him a position as a Special Agent on Apr. 22, 1939, but warning that "This appointment is of a probationary character solely..." On May 1, Hoover wrote to Williams that he passed his physical examination and that his color blindness would not be a determent and on July 22, 1939, Hoover ordered him to report to P. E. Foxworth at the U.S Court House in New York's Foley Square. However on Aug. 12, Hoover cancelled the order and sent him to Springfield, Ill. instead. Then, inexplicably, Williams was once again sent back to New York in November, 1939. Williams remained in New York for the remainder of his career until his retirement in 1960. While many of the letters concern routine matters such as automatic pay raises and other administrative matters, there are others which reveal the depth in which Hoover managed his staff. On several occasions, later in Williams' career, he received personal reprimands from Hoover for sloppy work. On Jan. 27, 1955 Williams received a terse letter from Hoover: "The attention of the Bureau has recently been directed to an instance of inadequate work performance on your part. Specifically, it has been observed that in the Summer of 1953 you prepared a summary of information pertaining to Leo Abram Bonnema in connection with suspected espionage activates at the military installation at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and at the Federal telecommunications Laboratories, Nutley, New Jersey, and in this summary you set forth the name and background of an individual whom you reported as having personally listed Bonnema as a character reference when it was actually the brother of the person you referred to who had listed Bonnema as a reference. As a consequence of your error a subsequent report... concerning Bonnema was submitted by another agent... incorporating this erroneous information... As you are aware errors of this nature are most serious and tend to place the Bureau in an extremely embarrassing position. Therefore, you are being placed on probation. In the future it will be incumbent upon you to perform your official duties with a greater degree of care and attention..." Williams received several other reprimands for sloppy work, but was never again placed on probation for his offences. Hoover not only took time to nitpick his men, but also showed personal concern for them. Hoover sent Williams letters on learning of the death of his mother and his father as well as a period in 1944 when his wife was suffering from a serious illness. A nice, complete archive documenting the career of a special agent through the eyes of its director. Letters bear the usual folds and file holes at top, else very good to fine condition.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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