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FBI History

The FBI originated from a force of Special Agents created in 1908 by Attorney General Charles Bonaparte during the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. They served under the Attorney General at the Department of Justice as the Bureau of Investigation. Bonaparte ordered the Agents to report to Stanley W. Finch. The White Slavery Act was passed in June 1910, and Finch became Commissioner of the White Slavery Act in 1912. Special Examiner, A. Bruce Bielaski, became the new Bureau of Investigation Chief. In 1919, William J. Flynn became the Director of Bureau of Investigation. Next, William J. Burns was appointed Bureau of Investigation Director, and he appointed J. Edgar Hoover as his Assistant Director. Upon the death of President Warren G. Harding in 1923, his successor, Calvin Coolidge appointed Harlen Fiske Stone as the new Attorney General. Stone on May 10, 1924, selected Hoover to head the Bureau of Investigation. The Bureau of Investigation was renamed The United States Bureau of Investigation on July 1, 1932. In 1935, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was born. Director Hoover died on May 2, 1972, at the age of 77, just shy of 48 years as Director of the FBI. President Nixon appointed L. Patrick Gray as Acting Director the day after Hoover's death. Gray appointed the first female agents to the role as FBI Agents since the 1920's. Gray resigned on July 9, 1973, and William Ruckleshaus was Director until the appointment of Clarence Kelley. In 1978, Kelley resigned, and was replaced by former federal Judge William H. Webster. On May 26, 1987, Judge Webster left the FBI to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Director John E. Otto was Acting Director and served until November 2, 1987. On November 2, 1987, former federal Judge William Steele Sessions was sworn in as FBI Director. On September 1, 1993, Louis J. Freeh was appointed Director of the FBI. After Freeh's resignation, Robert S. Mueller, III was appointed Director on September 10, 2001. He is the current FBI Director.


Reading Room Index
- A   B   C   D   E    F   G
- H   I    J    K   L   M   N   
- O   P   Q   R   S   T   U
- V   W   X   Y   Z   

Electronic Reading Room

- Alphabetical Listing
- Espionage
- Famous Persons
- Gangster Era
- Historical Interest
- Unusual Phenomena
- Violent Crime
FBI File Fact Sheet
FOIA Request Instructions
- FOIA Request Form
- Privacy Waiver and Certificate of Identity Form
Privacy Act Instructions
- Privacy Act Request Form
DOJ Reference Guide
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