Known for movies

Short Info

DiedNovember 15, 1996, New York City, New York, United States
SpouseIsabel Johnson, Priscilla Hobson
FactUS State Department official accused of passing secrets to the Soviet government. Convicted of perjury in 1950.

Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was an American government official who was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948 and convicted of perjury in 1950.

Early Life

Alger Hiss was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 11, 1904. His parents were Mary Minnie Lavinia (Hubbard) and Charles Alger Hiss. His father worked as a traveling salesman. He had two brothers, Donald and William.

Hiss attended Baltimore City College, a public high school. He then went on to Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1926. He later studied at Harvard Law School, graduating in 1929.


After law school, Hiss worked for a law firm in New York City. He then took a job with the U.S. Department of Justice, working in the criminal division. In 1934, he went to work for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.

In 1935, Hiss moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the New Deal administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He worked for the Department of State, first in the Far Eastern Division and then as head of the Office of Special Political Affairs. In 1945, he served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco.

In 1946, Hiss was appointed as the acting secretary general of the UN. He served in that role for two years. In 1948, he returned to Washington to work as the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Alger Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy by Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member, in 1948. Chambers alleged that Hiss had given him classified government documents to pass on to the Soviets. Hiss denied the charges and sued Chambers for libel.

The case went to trial in 1949, with both men testifying. Chambers produced evidence that Hiss had given him documents, and Hiss was indicted for perjury. He was convicted in 1950 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was later pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1981.

Net Worth

Alger Hiss had a net worth of $2 million at the time of his death in 1996. His salary as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was $25,000 per year.


Hiss was married to Priscilla Fansler from 1929 to 1945. They had two sons, Timothy and Tony. In 1945, he married Isabel Johnson; they had one son, Peter.

Hiss met his first wife while they were both students at Johns Hopkins University. His second wife was a journalist whom he met while she was working on a story about the UN.

Physical Characteristics

Alger Hiss was 6 feet tall and weighed 170 pounds. He had brown hair and blue eyes.

General Info

Full NameAlger Hiss
DiedNovember 15, 1996, New York City, New York, United States
ProfessionLawyer, Author, Official, Lecturer
EducationJohns Hopkins University, Baltimore City College, Harvard Law School, Harvard University


SpouseIsabel Johnson, Priscilla Hobson
ChildrenTony Hiss
ParentsMary Lavinia Hughes, Charles Alger Hiss
SiblingsDonald Hiss, Bosley Hiss, Mary Ann Hiss, Anna Hiss

Social profile links


1His wife was the ex-wife of Thayer Hobson, owner of book publisher William Morrow; after their divorce, Hobson married Laura Z. Hobson.
2In August 1948 former Communist Whittaker Chambers accused Hiss of being a fellow member of an underground Soviet spy cell named The Ware Group, which Chambers claimed was founded by the son of American Communist Party co-founder Ella Reeve. Hiss denied the allegation but was eventually convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years in federal prison.
3Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 272-274. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
4US State Department official accused of passing secrets to the Soviet government. Convicted of perjury in 1950.



The Mike Douglas Show1976TV SeriesHimself - Author / Attorney
The World at War1974TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Howard K. Smith1962TV SeriesHimself - Guest

Archive Footage

The 20th Century: A Moving Visual History1999TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Cold War1998TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Nixon1995Himself - Testifying before HUAC (uncredited)
The Trials of Alger Hiss1980DocumentaryHimself
McCarthy: Death of a Witch Hunter1975DocumentaryHimself
Project XX1960TV Series documentaryHimself - Accused of Spying

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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