Helen Gandy

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Helen Gandy : biography

April 8, 1897 – July 7, 1988

When the House Committee on Government Oversight investigated the F.B.I.’s spying on and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in 1975, Gandy was called to testify. "I tore them up, put them in boxes, and they were taken away to be shredded," she told the congressmen about the papers. The Bureau’s Washington field office had F.B.I. drivers transport the material to Hoover’s home, then once Gandy had gone through the material, the drivers transported it back to the field office in the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue where it was shredded and burned.

Gandy stated that Hoover had left standing instructions to destroy his personal papers upon his death and that this instruction was confirmed by Tolson and Gray. Gandy stated that she destroyed no official papers, that everything was personal papers of Hoover. The staff of the subcommittee did not believe her, but she told the committee "I have no reason to lie." Representative Andrew Maguire (D-New Jersey), a freshman member of the 94th Congress, said "I find your testimony very difficult to believe." Gandy held her ground: "That is your privilege."

"I can give you my word. I know what there was—letters to and from friends, personal friends, a lot of letters," she testified. Gandy also said the files she took to his home also included his financial papers, such as tax returns and investment statements, the deed to his home, and papers relating to his dogs’ pedigrees.

Curt Gentry wrote

Helen Gandy must have felt quite safe in testifying as she did for who could contradict her? Only one other person knew exactly what the files contained and he was dead.

In J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets, Curt Gentry describes the nature of the files:Bardsley, Marilyn. "", Crime Library on truTV.com. Retrieved on August 5, 2008. "… their contents included blackmail material on the patriarch of an American political dynasty, his sons, their wives, and other women; allegations of two homosexual arrests which Hoover leaked to help defeat a witty, urbane Democratic presidential candidate; the surveillance reports on one of America’s best-known first ladies and her alleged lovers, both male and female, white and black; the child molestation documentation the director used to control and manipulate one of the Red-baiting proteges; a list of the Bureau’s spies in the White House during the eight administrations when Hoover was FBI director; the forbidden fruit of hundreds of illegal wiretaps and bugs, containing, for example, evidence that an attorney general, Tom C. Clark, who later became Supreme Court justice, had received payoffs from the Chicago syndicate; as well as celebrity files, with all the unsavory gossip Hoover could amass on some of the biggest names in show business."

Early life

GandyAthan G. Theoharis and John Stewart Cox. The Boss: J. Edgar Hoover and the Great American Inquisition. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87722-532-X was born in Rockville, New Jersey, one of three children (two daughters and a son) born to Franklin Dallas and Annie (née Williams) Gandy. She grew up in Fairton or Port Norris New Jersey (sources differ) and graduated from Bridgeton High School in Bridgeton New Jersey. In 1918, aged twenty-one, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she later took classes at Strayer Business College and George Washington University Law School.