The Long Beach ‘social vagrant’ investigations, 1914

From the Archives Long Beach banker kills himself in 1914 soon after he was arrested in an undercover sting targeting gay men

John Lamb, a prom­in­ent Long Beach banker and Epis­copal Church of­ficer, killed him­self soon after he was ar­res­ted in an un­der­cov­er sting op­er­a­tion in 1914 that tar­geted gay men in the city. Lamb was among 31 men, al­leged mem­bers of two private clubs in Long Beach, who were ar­res­ted and ac­cused of “so­cial vag­rancy.” Lamb said in a let­ter to his sis­ter that he was mor­ti­fied to read his name in the news­pa­per after the ar­rest. After Lamb fatally in­ges­ted cy­an­ide, Long Beach city of­fi­cials tem­por­ar­ily banned the sale of tox­ic sub­stances, fear­ful that oth­ers would fol­low suit.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Nov. 15, 1914