The Long Beach ‘social vagrant’ investigations, 1914

From the Archives The L.A. Times took glee in reporting on 1914 arrests targeting gay men in Long Beach

The Los Angeles Times de­tailed the ar­rests of 31 men ac­cused of “so­cial vag­rancy” and gay sex in the neigh­bor­ing city of Long Beach. The news­pa­per, which pub­lished the names of the men, ap­peared to take great de­light in cov­er­ing the “mor­al clean-up” in the city and the em­bar­rass­ment caused by “the scan­dal.” One man, flor­ist Her­bert N. Lowe, fought the charges at tri­al. The art­icle quotes a judge speak­ing about John Lamb, a Long Beach banker who com­mit­ted sui­cide after be­ing ar­res­ted and hav­ing his name pub­lished in the news­pa­per. Lamb “was as guilty of the charge of vag­rancy as any of the group, al­though we all de­plore his death,” Po­lice Judge J.J. Hart said, adding that he favored the print­ing of the names of “these de­gen­er­ates.”

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Nov. 22, 1914