Stanley Finch

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Stanley Finch
Stanley Wellington Finch, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left.jpg
Chief of the Bureau of Investigation
In office
July 26, 1908 – April 30, 1912
PresidentTheodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byA. Bruce Bielaski
Personal details
Born(1872-07-20)July 20, 1872
Monticello, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 22, 1951(1951-11-22) (aged 79)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
EducationGeorge Washington University (LLB, LLM)

Stanley Wellington Finch (July 20, 1872 – 22 November 1951) was the first director of the Bureau of Investigation (1908–1912), which would eventually become the FBI. He would soon retire from office.

Finch was born in Monticello, New York, in 1872. He became a clerk in the United States Department of Justice, where he worked off and on for almost 40 years.[1] Finch rose from the position of clerk to that of chief examiner between 1893 and 1908. It was only while working in the Justice Department that Finch earned his LL.B degree (1908), followed by an LL.M degree (1909) from what is now The George Washington University Law School. He was admitted to the Washington, DC bar in 1911.

Former Washington, D.C. residence (left) of Stanley Finch

Previously when the Justice Department needed to investigate a crime it would borrow Secret Service personnel from the Treasury Department. As chief examiner, Finch advocated setting up a squad of detectives within the Justice Department.

Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte created a Special Agent force, and gave oversight of the force, later named the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), to Finch. Thus he created what would become the FBI.

From 1913 to the 1930s, Finch alternated between private employment—primarily in the novelty manufacturing business—and positions in the Department of Justice. He finally retired from the Department of Justice in 1940.


  1. ^ "Stanley W. Finch, July 26, 1908 - April 30, 1912".
Government offices
New office Chief of the Bureau of Investigation
Succeeded by
A. Bruce Bielaski