(by Student #25 AMH 2010 1115)
For my research, I have a man by the name of Irving K. Schloss who was imprisoned for “White Slavery”, which means prostitution. I didn’t expect to find much when I first read over the profile but once I started digging I found some crazy things. I created a hypothesis once I started doing research, the hypothesis was that Irving K. Schloss actually pimped out woman to homosexual men so that the men could hide the fact that they were homosexual. Once I realized this I started looking for more.
In the beginning, I just started by looking through ancestry and found out basic things from his prison files. Irving was 5’3 and 32 years old. He weighed 134 pounds which was a bit above average for the current time period. He had black hair and a fair complexion with light brown eyes. He was convicted of white slavery in Portland, Oregon on December 20, 1912. He was sentenced to three years with no fines or bonds. His sentence began on January 28, 1913 and expired on May 20, 1915.
I became curious about the type of prostitution that Irving was distributing when I realized that all the men who were his “clients” were single men. Of course, this all sounds like it makes sense, right? Single men having prostitutes sounds about right, but after taking a look at the census’ I found that all of his clients actually died without wife or girlfriend of any sort. In each census, the total people in the household was consistently one. These people were clearly loners and presumably ashamed. My suspicion for this was that they were homosexual men who didn’t want the other people around to know since being homosexual was not exactly tolerated and understood.
For this next part I had to venture outside of ancestry and the prison records. In order to really find out if my hypothesis was correct I looked up how gay men were treated on the west coast to see if these men would actually be ashamed of their sexuality. Long story, short, the treatment they would’ve gotten was unbearable. I went to a website called “myheritage” to find more about the clients and Irving himself. When I found the clients, I found that most of them actually knew each other which furthered my curiosity to a point where I assumed this was all a big plot or club of some sort. Basically, to not be outed as gay to the community, the men banded together to keep their true sexualities a secret.
In conclusion, Irving K. Schloss was arrested in Portland, Oregon for prostitution. By technicality, he was arrested for a legitimate reason but at the same time he wasn’t necessarily guilty of anything. Irving prostituted women out to gay men so the other people around the community would think they were all straight and they wouldn’t be treated poorly. Irving was just protecting the true identities of men around the community, so they could all be treated equally. He was arrested for what he believes was doing the right thing.