Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover, 1944

J. Edgar Hoover died on this day, May 2, in 1972. He was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. He was appointed as the director of the Bureau of Investigation – the FBI’s predecessor – in 1924 and was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director for another 37 years until his death in 1972 at the age of 77.

Hoover became a controversial figure as evidence of his secretive abuses of power began to surface. He was found to have exceeded the jurisdiction of the FBI, and to have used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Hoover consequently amassed a great deal of power and was in a position to intimidate and threaten others, even sitting presidents of the United States. Read more (Wikipedia)

Karsh photographed Hoover in 1944 on assignment for LIFE magazine. See other people who sat for Karsh and LIFE.