The Long Beach ‘social vagrant’ investigations, 1914

From the Archives The 1914 trial of a Long Beach man accused of ‘social vagrancy’ drew large crowds

The Los Angeles Times covered the sen­sa­tion­al 1914 tri­al of Her­bert N. Lowe, who was among 31 so-called “so­cial vag­rants” ar­res­ted and ac­cused of lewd con­duct and hav­ing gay sex. Au­thor­it­ies ac­cused the men of be­long­ing to two private clubs, the 606 Club and the 96 Club, where, of­ficers said, they cross dressed and had sex. B.C. Brown, one of two vice of­ficers who helped pi­on­eer the use of un­der­cov­er op­er­a­tions tar­get­ing gay men, said on the wit­ness stand that he and his part­ner, W.H. War­ren, re­ceived $10 for each con­fes­sion of a “so­cial vag­rant.” Brown had ren­ted a cot­tage from Lowe, and test­i­fied that oth­er of­ficers watched his bed­room from a pee­p­h­ole and win­dow to see Lowe flirt­ing with him.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19, 1914