A 1935 News Message To America's YouthDuring the course of history, there's no doubt that one of the heightened years for the Bureau and for that matter, the history of America with regard to law enforcement, was 1934.
Author, Curt Gentry in his book
J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets
sums up those days best: "The press gave them their names—Handsome Johnny Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, Ma Barker, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd—and glamorized their exploits. In the stale weariness of the deepening Depression, their crimes, chases, and—as often as not—escapes were like a continuing serial at the Saturday matinee. The “midwestern crime wave”—which, more than any other event, catapulted the Bureau into national prominence—was of relatively short duration. It began in 1933 and was, for the most part, over by the end of the following year. It was also restricted to a limited area. Most of the crimes occurred in seven states: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa."
The May/June Crime Bills of 1934 extended the Bureau's authority with regard to jurisdiction, arrests, and carrying weapons and all throughout the year, the gun battles with society's hoodlums continued. It was during that year that three FBI Agents were killed in the line of duty and several wounded. The worst year ever....and all of it done with about four hundred special agents on the rolls.
But while the Bureau was busy with major kidnappings and gangsters, there was still a lot more on the "Bureau's plate" with a host of other Federal laws it was to enforce, projects to complete and personnel coming and going. In 1934, some of the "street agents" such as Jay C. Newman and others would be Special Agents In Charge (SACs) of field offices by 1936! Many with less than ten years of Bureau service.
Can we get a "capsule view" of the 1934 FBI? These two documents will give readers some insight into the names involved in running the field offices and the Bureau's summation for December of that year, a lot of which did not involve the gangsters. 1935 would bring the official name change to "FBI" and the founding of the Bureau's National Academy for local officers across the United States. The newly found FBI Laboratory had already been at work since 1932.
Here's a glimpse of the Bureau in 1934 when it was still the "Division Of Investigation" soon to be renamed the "Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI)." The listing of SACs shown is for March of 1934.