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J. Edgar Hoover

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This letter, which should be considered strictly confidential and given no publicity, should be presented when you report for duty.

John Edgar Hoover, 18951972.  Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 19241972.  Typed Letter Signed, J. E. Hoover, two pages, 8" x 10½", on stationery of the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, D.C., May 5, 1951.

This is a vintage letter in which Hoover offers a lady a clerkʼs position in the FBI.  In part:  "You are hereby offered a probationary appointment in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Justice, as a Clerk . . . . This appointment is a temporary, indefinite appointment, pursuant to the provisions of Public Law #843, approved September 27, 1950. . . . Upon acceptance of this appointment you should report . . . for oath of office and assignment . . . . This letter, which should be considered strictly confidential and given no publicity, should be presented when you report for duty. . . . All employees of he Federal Bureau of Investigation are presently working six days weekly which will continue for an indefinite period."

The letter shows how much things have changed since 1951—and how much they have not.  The clerkʼs job was an entry-level position at grade GS-2, with a salary of $2,450 per year.  In 2017, according to the Office of Personnel Management, the GS-2 base salary was $20,829 per year.  Due to inflation, that is more than $2,500 less than the purchasing power of the 1951 salary.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the clerkʼs salary would have to be $23,347.74 in 2017 in order to keep pace with inflation.

Hoover became Acting Director of the Bureau of Investigation on May 10, 1924, when then-Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone appointed him amid allegations that his predecessor was involved in the scandals of the Harding Administration.  By the end of the year, President Calvin Coolidge had made him Director.  Hoover stayed for 48 years and established the modern FBI, which the bureau was renamed in 1935.  Under Hoover, its powers were greatly expanded, and it became preeminent in domestic surveillance.

This letter is a form with typewritten additions setting out the specifics of the clerkʼs job.  Hoover has boldly signed in black fountain pen.  The letter shows some handling and is lightly toned.  It has two horizontal mailing folds, a staple hole in the blank upper left margin, and minor paper loss in three places on the left edge.  Overall the letter is in very good to fine conditon.


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