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1922- Alaska Davidson becomes first woman FBI “special investigator”

October 11, 2022

On this day in history, October 11, 1922, Alaska Davidson was appointed as a special investigator in the FBI at the age of 54. Although women had worked with the FBI, Davidson was the first to fill the role of a special investigator. Unfortunately, her time did not last long. Just two years later, J. Edgar Hoover was appointed as director and asked her to step down. Women didn't operate in this section of the FBI again until 1972, shortly after Hoover died.

Davidson's Background

Little is known about Alaska Davidson, except that she was born in Ohio in 1868. Records indicate that she attended public school for just three years and did not pursue higher learning.

Davidson married Ephraim B. McCrum Jr. in 1893 and had a daughter named Esther, who died in 1902. The two did not stay married long; a 1910 and 1920 census lists her as the wife of James B. Davidson. He died at some point, and by 1930, Davidson was labeled a widow.

Work in the FBI

While women hadn't previously been used as special investigators, the FBI was working on cases related to the Mann Act and thought female agents would be helpful. However, Davidson was considered "very refined" and did not seem like a good fit for the cases involving crude interstate sex trafficking.  

She was then assigned to the Washington D.C. office at a starting salary of $7 a day, plus an extra $4 when traveling.

Hoover Takes Office

The combination of her lack of education and her limited use during cases made her an easy target for layoffs. When Hoover was appointed director, he wanted all offices to evaluate their agents and get rid of any they considered unqualified. The agent in charge of Alaska's office informed Hoover they had no work for a female agent, so she was asked to resign on June 10, 1924.

Women didn't have the opportunity to work in special investigations until after 1972, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Act was passed.


  1. Maclogo

    Ehh, The date of her exit from the investigator position is wrong. You’ve got it as today, Oct. 11, 2022. ???

  2. Carlos Rivera

    Woover, son of a b……

  3. Clifford Dweller

    The dates you list don’t match the dates on the form.


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