Much like my post on Female Soldiers During the American Civil War, I like to give a bit of historical background to the novels I write. Female FBI agents are very prevalent in the United States today, making up 19% of the bureau’s special agents. This left me curious. When did women first start working for this elite agency?
As a tie in to my novel, The Fairest of Them, I decided to delve into the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, a.k.a the FBI. According to their website, the FBI stemmed from a special group of law enforcement agents, founded during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. He teamed with Attorney General Charles Bonaparte in 1908 to lay the foundations to what would later become the FBI. In 1918, with the end of WWI, the group of Special Agents was renamed the “Bureau of Investigations.”
But this isn’t a history lesson on the formation of the FBI! I’m here to tell you about women in the FBI! The history on this subject is sparse, but one name I found was Alaska Packard Davidson. She served as a special agent from October 1922 to June 1924. She was 54 years old when she was appointed. When J. Edgar Hoover took over the Bureau, Davidson, along with several other female agents were dismissed.
Hoover is only known to have hired one female Special Agent during his entire term in office. That was Lenore Huston, an agent from 1924-1928.
After, according to the FBI’s website:
On July 17, 1972, the first two women of the modern era entered the FBI Training Academy at Quantico, Virginia. Fourteen weeks later they emerged as special agents. Over the next 40 years, women agents reshaped the Bureau, achieving leadership posts across the U.S. and around the world. This series looks at their roles, their challenges, and the rewards of a demanding career as a G-woman.
A pretty big gap in history! You can learn more by going to: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/may/women-agents_051612/women-agents_051612
Don’t forget to look for The Fairest of Them, with my own Special Agent Rae Hatting.