Did J. Edgar Hoover Wear Women’s Clothes?
The late director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover, has become an almost mythical figure in American history. He is remembered for his intrusive tactics, power-hungry manner, and exceptional tenacity in furthering the goals of the FBI. But one rumor about Hoover is a much more personal one: did J. Edgar Hoover actually wear women’s clothes?
Evidence of a Possible Cross-Dressing Episode
The gossip about Hoover wearing women’s clothing first surfaced in 1976 when Richard M. Kleindienst, the U.S. Attorney General and close friend of Hoover during his lifetime, wrote a biography of Hoover. In the book, he documented a particular episode from Hoover’s past:
- Kleindienst wrote that in 1924, when Hoover was 27 and working as an aide to the Attorney General, fellow Justice Department employees reportedly found Hoover wearing a lacy woman’s dress, a platinum blonde wig, and a pair of high heels.
- Hoover supposedly implicated a woman in the scandal and then fired her to cover up the episode.
- Kleindienst also stated that the dressing up in clothes of the opposite gender was “not repeated.”
A Note of Caution
It’s important, however, to exercise a bit of control when assessing this information. Although Kleindienst presented details about the incident, it is difficult to verify the accuracy of this information.
Furthermore, no other biographers or people close to Hoover have reported anything about this 1924 incident. Though in recent years, people have come forward about cross-dressing and similar activities, the silence on this particular issue prior means that this factoid remains unconfirmed, though not impossible.
At the end of the day, the truth remains a mystery: did J. Edgar Hoover actually wear women’s clothes? Only those with direct knowledge of the incident are able to provide the definitive answer.