'In the Company of Scholars' lecture to explore J. Edgar Hoover and modern conservatism

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Beverly Gage, professor of history, will present a talk titled “J. Edgar Hoover and the Rise of Modern Conservatism” at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, in Room 119 of the Hall of Graduate Studies, 320 York St. A reception will follow in the McDougal Center common room.

Her talk — which can be watched online on Yale’s YouTube channel — is part of this year’s In the Company of Scholars lecture series sponsored by Thomas D. Pollard, dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Hoover (1895–1972) headed the FBI for 48 years. Although he was revered in his lifetime, he is now generally seen as having operated outside the bounds of American politics, using illegal surveillance to suppress civil rights leaders and left-leaning political activists.

“This is a good moment to put him in the context of the bigger story of the 20th century that we now have the distance to tell. Hoover was actually at the center of American politics. He used the tools of big government, but used them in an ideologically conservative way,” notes Gage, adding, “He was also an outspoken proponent of conservative family values, despite his long-term private relationship with Clyde Tolson, second-in-command at the FBI.”

Gage is currently working on her second book, “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the American Century” (Viking).

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