Still, the young FBI faced plenty of criticism, some justified and some not. During this time, it worked closely with the Department of Justice (Attorney General Homer Cummings was leading a “war on crime” publicity campaign with respected reporter Henry Suydam) and the news media to tell its story accurately and favorably.
In 1933, Hoover began working with Courtney Ryley Cooper. In the early 1930s, Cooper—a veteran author, reporter, and publicist—began writing about the problem of crime in the U.S. and the FBI’s growing role in addressing it, including a series of articles for American Magazine. His FBI-centered books included Ten Thousand Public Enemies (on the criminal underworld),Here’s to Crime (various criminal activities), and Designs in Scarlet (prostitution).
Hoover admired Cooper. The two shared an interest in denouncing the scourge of crime and a vision that the FBI was performing an important public service. As a result, Ryley Cooper (as he was known) came to be a good friend of J. Edgar and a key influence in shaping the Bureau’s public image during an often trying time.
Evidence of this relationship is seen in a February 1938 letter that Hoover sent to Cooper’s wife, Genevieve or “Gen” as Hoover calls her. Ryley had just left D.C. after giving a talk at a joint session of the FBI National Academy and the current new agent training class. Hoover told Gen he found Ryley “feeling bad” and thought his viewpoint was “colored through dark glasses.” The Director says he tried unsuccessfully to cheer Ryley up.