Sam Noisette With J. Edgar Hoover - Courtesy National ArchivesThere aren't many today, outside of the FBI, who recall William Samuel Noisette but those insiders who worked at FBIHQ will recall "Sam" if they had the occasion to go to Hoover's office.  A true master of the brush, here's a 1938 article about his role as one of Hoover's right hand men. He was appointed a Special Agent in 1957 but remained at FBIHQ and retired finally in 1968 after serving 40 years with the FBI.

Noisette's true love was painting and today, many of his paintings are scattered with FBI families and others.  His art shows continued on for decades while employed with the FBI.        

When Hoover died, he left the bulk of his clothing to this chauffeur, James Crawford, and to Noisette.  Sam didn't get to wear most of it; Hoover died in May, 1972 and Sam died in December of that same year at the age of 72.  He was survived at the time by his wife, a son, two sisters and several grandchildren.

In addition to the 1938 article below, readers are also directed to this 1943 article about him in the FBI's internal magazine, "Investigator."   


Washington Post, Oct 20, 1938

Sam Noisette, Federal Doorman,
Opens One-Man Art Show

With "Wash Day in Dixie" as the featured picture, the fifth annual one-man art show by William Samuel Noisette — colored messenger who tends the door leading to the office of J. Edgar Hoover — opened Tuesday at the Phyllis Wheatley Y.W.C.A.

"That picture really has something," Sam admitted as he showed visitors about. "It ought to have though. I kept thinking about it for years before I painted it. It's from things I remember about North Carolina, my home."

Sam, who has been painting since 1910, is completely self taught — but has no trouble selling his wares.

"Indeed, I do sell them," he declared. "More than 100 of my pictures have been sold to FBI officials. They started buying after I painted the portrait of Mr. Hoover's dog. That was a good picture. Mr. Hoover'll be down here to the exhibit before its over. He always comes. I sell outside the FBI, too. Courtney Riley Cooper has one of my pictures."

The Hoover dog is the only portrait Sam ever did. He's a landscape artist. "Mostly an autumn landscape artist, I guess you might say. I like to paint autumn scenes best," he said.

In almost every one of Sam's landscapes small figures of people can be found. Sam thinks they add interest to the landscapes. "See that old couple there in the snow scene?" he asked. "They're all bent over and almost slipping down on the slick ground. That helps the picture."

The Rocky Mountain pictures and the seascapes in the exhibit are what Sam calls "conversation paintings." "I haven't been to those places," he explained. "I painted them from conversations I have heard about them."

Every spare minute Sam has, he said, he spends painting or sketching. His pictures reveal a keen enjoyment of color and a masterful way of using it freely without blatancy.

"I key it down," Sam said. 'And I don't work on one picture too long a time. I always have two going at once. One is to rest me from the other."