Alger Hiss (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Hiss was a U.S. diplomat accused of being a Communist spy and became the defendant in two notorious trials that heightened the public’s fear of communist infiltration in the government.
Alger Hiss was born on November 11, 1904, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Mary and Charles Alger Hiss. Raised in an upper-middle-class atmosphere, Hiss possessed an eagerness for knowledge and excelled at his studies. He enjoyed being read to by an aunt who lived in the Hiss household after Charles died when Alger was just two years old. As a youth, Hiss attended Baltimore public schools; after graduating from high school at Baltimore City College in 1921, he attended Powder Point Academy in Massachusetts. Hiss glided through college and law school with honors and scholarships, graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 1926 and Harvard Law School in 1929. He was a protégé of Felix Frankfurter (a future U.S. Supreme Court justice) and later clerked for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.
After practicing law in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City from 1930 to 1933, Hiss began his career in Washington, D.C. He held several New Deal posts in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, including the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the major New Deal agency concerned with farming. In July, 1934, Hiss shifted from the AAA to a new post on the legal staff of the Nye...
(The entire section is 2009 words.)
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