|J. Edgar Hoover (1895 - 1972)|
Possibly one of the most powerful men in American history, J. Edgar Hoover began his career in the Justice Department in 1917 working in the War Emergency Department, which was charged with identifying and arresting disloyal foreigners during wartime. Having proven himself in that role he was made head of the General Intelligence Division of the Bureau of Investigation (B.O.I). By 1924 he was made director of the Bureau of Investigation, and later in 1935 when it became the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he was named the first director. He would remain the Director of the F.B.I. until his death 37 years later.
His long career began during Franklin D. Roosvelt's Presidency with the FBI going up against prohibition-era mobsters like Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Machine Gun Kelly. It ended during Richard Nixon's Presidency and with the Watergate scandal. During his tenure, he built one of the most modern and effective crime fighting organizations in the world.
He became a very controversial figure during his years in office. He was accused of abusing his power, collecting evidence illegally, and amassing secret files on political leaders. President Harry S. Truman was one of his harshest critics accusing Hoover of turning the FBI into his own secret police force. Truman once said, "we want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail."
|Hoover's grave in Congressional Cemetery (Photo by Todd E. Creason)|
So was J. Edgar Hoover a Freemason?
He most certainly was, and all of his Masonic affiliations were in Washington, D.C. Brother J. Edgar Hoover was a member of Federal Lodge No. 1, Washington D.C. He was a charter member of Justice Lodge No. 46 in Washington, D.C. He was both a York Rite Mason, and a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. He was also a Shriner--a member of Almas Shrine.
Author's Note: I got the idea for this post on a trip to Washington D.C. a few weeks ago with two other Masons, Greg Knott (also a contributor to the Midnight Freemasons) and Denver Phelps (the Worshipful Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754, Illinois). I'd either forgotten, or never knew Hoover was resting there, but shortly after visiting many of the other famous Freemasons buried there, like John Philips Sousa, we found Brother Hoover quite by mistake. It was an amazing trip, and over the next few weeks, I plan on sharing with the readers of the Midnight Freemasons a few of our remarkable adventures together on that road trip. I'm sure it won't be our last adventure either.
Todd E. Creason, 33°, FMLR is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor. He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog. He is a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and currently serves as the Secretary. He is also the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and serves as Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. He is a member the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), Ansar Shrine (IL), and Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL). In 2015 he was honored by the Missouri Lodge of Research and named a Fellow (FMLR). He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. Todd is the father of two daughters, and recently became a grandfather. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org