Douglas M. Charles, Ph.D.

Professor, History
Main Building, 109D
Penn State Greater Allegheny, 4000 University Drive, McKeesport, PA 15132

Professor Charles is a historian of the United States (broadly speaking) who researches and publishes on the history of the FBI and its intersections with gay and lesbian history, obscenity regulation, and American politics and diplomacy.

A leading historian of the FBI, he’s published multiple books and numerous articles and has appeared on C-SPAN, the History Channel, and in a Yahoo News documentary. He has also given talks across the United States and in Europe. Dr. Charles has been referenced in the New York Times, Washington Post, Le Parisien Magazine, La Croix, de Volksrants (Netherlands), Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), Business Standard (India), Australian Broadcasting Corp., NBC News, Yahoo News, Time Magazine, and PBS News Hour while contributing multiple OpEd and historical pieces as a public scholar to illuminate popular understanding of contemporary events.

Professor Charles has won the Penn State Greater Allegheny Excellence in Research Award (2015) and was the first winner of the Penn State Commission on LGBT Equity Academic Achievement Award (2015).

American history, modern U.S., FBI, gay and lesbian history, obscenity regulation, intelligence history, foreign relations, political history, history of martial arts

The Federal Bureau of Investigation: History, Powers, and Controversies of the FBI [2 vol.s] (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2022)

Hoover's War on Gays: Exposing the FBI's "Sex Deviates" Program (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2015)

The FBI's Obscene File: J. Edgar Hoover and the Bureau's Crusade Against Smut (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012)

J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-interventionists: FBI Political Surveillance and the Rise of the Domestic Security State, 1939-45 (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2007; paperback 2015)


A Source of Great Embarrassment to the Bureau: Gay Activist Jack Nichols, His FBI Agent Father, and the Mattachine Society of Washington, The Historian 79 (Fall 2017): 504-522

Policing Public Morality: Hoover's FBI, Obscenity, and Homosexuality, chapter in The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security Before and After 9/11 (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), eds., Sylvester A. Johnson and Steven Weitzman

Communist and Homosexual: The FBI, Harry Hay, and the Secret Side of the Lavender Scare, 1943-61, American Communist History 11:1 (2012): 101-124

From Subversion to Obscenity: The FBI's Investigations of the Early Homophile Movement, 1953-58, Journal of the History of Sexuality 19:2 (May 2010): 262-87

'Before the Colonel Arrived': Hoover, Donovan, Roosevelt, and the Origins of American Central Intelligence, Intelligence and National Security 20 (Summer 2005): 225-37

Informing FDR: FBI Political Surveillance and the Isolationist-Interventionist Foreign Policy Debate, 1939-1945, Diplomatic History 24 (Spring 2000): 211-32

American, British, and Canadian Intelligence Links: A Critical Annotated Bibliography, Intelligence and National Security 15 (Summer 2000): 259-69

FBI Political Surveillance and the Charles Lindbergh Investigation, 1939-1944, The Historian 59 (Summer 1997): 831-47

History (Ph.D.) | University of Edinburgh | 2002

History (M.A.) | Marquette University | 1997

History (B.A.) | The Pennsylvania State University | 1995