J. Edgar Hoover's Porn Stash

From John Hockenberry’s Dateline interview with Richard Hack, author of a new book on Hoover:

While much has been made about Hoover’s secret files on those around him, Hack says he learned Hoover had some secret files for his own personal use – files that included nude photographs.

Hack: “He had nudes of many people. There was an obscene file that he kept himself.”
Hockenberry: “So you think he was interested in pornography?”
Hack: Oh, he was definitely interested in pornography. He would say from an intellectual standpoint of course to know what was out there so he could fight it.”

And whose nude pictures does Hack say Hoover had? Well, Marilyn Monroe, perhaps no big surprise, but there was also another.

Hack: “Eleanor Roosevelt, for one.”
Hockenberry: “Naked pictures of Eleanor Roosevelt? My, my. Forgive my interest in this, how does one go about getting and why would one even want naked pictures of Eleanor Roosevelt?”
Hack: “W.C. Fields happened to have a set of pictures, what was purported to be Eleanor Roosevelt. I have not seen these myself because they were subsequently destroyed. But Hoover had heard the story and asked W.C. Fields to see the pictures and W.C. Fields sent him with the pictures. And there in lies the power and play of the man.”

The oddity in Hoover’s collection of secrets is perhaps the key to his power. In Washington Hoover himself was an oddity, receiving special treatment wherever he went. He had things no one else could have, knew things no one else could know. For him ordinary rules did not apply.Hoover would have loved the Internet…

Update: Too bad John Ashcroft (I know he’s not the FBI director) couldn’t embrace is inner perv and drop the grandstanding porn crusade. Everybody supports nailing kiddie porn (except NMBLA), go “enforce” against them…

Bonfire Of The Vanities - Week 41
Discontinued Discourse


  1. Joe Grossberg April 13, 2004
  2. IXLNXS April 14, 2004