Friday Trip into the Pacific

Waikiki Beach 1933

Waikiki Beach 1933

Waikiki Beach 1933

Jerry, Waikiki Beach 1933

U.S.S. Cuyama 1934


Cuban Jungle 1934

Thanks, Alan, for these great photos! Towleroad loves old photos. If any other readers have vintage photos (especially gay-related) they’d like to share, please send them along.


  1. Anna says

    They are like actual vintage versions of contemporary Diesel or Abercrombie adverts. Really beautiful and amazing. Thanks to Alan for sharing them.

  2. Rob (lrdarystar) says

    Those are great photos. Thanks for sharing.

    And I can understand why they set off Alan’s gaydar.

  3. Alan says

    You’re welcome. I found them sort of mesmerizing and I’m happy to share them with others. Thanks, Andy, for helping me do that and for making them available larger & with good resolution when clicked on. Andy posted the best ones here but I have a couple of others if anyone’s interested, email me at

  4. Alan says

    By the way, these original prints are VERY tiny. Most are like 1.5 x 2 inches in size. They obviously didn’t believe in jumbo prints back then!

  5. says

    b/4 the current state of heighten homophobia (and heightened queer visibility) men were much more free to transgress gender roles (for laughs only – lots of mainstream comedians did drag), express physical affection and even have sexual experiences with other men. They didn’t have the same idea of a developed sexual identity like we have, so they weren’t afraid of being called gay.

  6. Henry Holland says

    When I came out in the mid-80’s, I devoured any gay history books I could find (it was tough, there’ weren’t that many back then!).

    One thing that’s clear to me is that the military and WWII had a big part to play in a gay rights movement popping up because when WWII ended, the military people that knew they were GLBT stayed in the places where they re-entered the US: New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, mainly. Rather than go back to their stifling small towns, they stayed on in the big city with others like them, as it were.

    Ryan, I’m not attacking you–honest–but I don’t think the part you wrote about the “same idea of sexuality identity” is particularly true. I mean, people like Walt Whitman, Magnus Hirschfeld in Germany and especially in England with Edward Carpenter, Lytton Strachey, E.M. Forster etc. had an acute sense of a “gay community”, though they used different terms (uranians, third sex). Sure, the mentality wasn’t as widespread as it is now, but it was there.

    Thank you Alan and Andy for the photos, they brought out my inner gay historian :-) And I think those guys are 1,000 times hotter than any “spend 6 hours a day in the gym” Aberzombie type.

  7. Britt says

    I love the one with the bench in Wakiki (no.3). Although I believe it’s candid, the way things fall into place (hands, the hat, legs) makes it appear like a posed photo shoot much like Anna said. You can really tell they were a close group. It also doesn’t hurt that the back row of guys looks pretty cute!

  8. Richard says

    Spectacular photographs. These days the interpretation – if photographed today – seems so clear to us, but I wonder whether the relationships between men meant the same thing then? I’ve read a bit about the late 1800s and early 1900s when it was more seemingly more common for that sort of affection between men without meaning they were gay in the contemporary sense. I gather the boundaries were more fluid and the labeling less destructive. Thanks for sharing these.

  9. Rad says

    Incredible! Thank you so much for sharing!

    My father was in WWII, stationed in Europe shortly after D-Day. >Somewhere< I have old photos of him, in his Corporal uniform, lounging on his Harley (the preffered bike for delivering communications). He and I had a brief falling out when I came out to him, but mended those fences well before he passed away. Long enough for him to tell me about “the men back then”. He said “You never talked about it, [there were a lot of those types around] but you never did anything [to stop it]”. In essence, you knew a good thing when you saw it!

  10. Alan says

    Rad, that reminds me of Jerry, whose photos you see here. When I came out to my folks circa 1978 my mom said “please don’t tell your grandparents” (meaning her mom and Jerry, her 2nd husband) so I didn’t, but a year or so later mom told them herself and they were completely o.k. with it. Jerry said in a very accepting tone, “we had some on our ship when I was in the Navy.” I remember mom told me this and said how surprised she was at how well it went. It didn’t cross my mind then that he may have been closer to them than he let on.

  11. PSMike says

    These pictures are great. Don’t know the legal aspect of this, but you should make sure you’re controlling ownership (especially since they’re on the web.) These outta be in a book.
    I’m willing to bet that the guys knew what they were doing. Some were probably queer, some probably weren’t. We didn’t invent queer…we’ve just more clearly categorized it. Right now isn’t more’s just that with increased visibility, the remaining idiots have to yell louder to be heard.
    The reason that the Church and the military have always been loudest about fag bashing? They’ve always had the highest percentage of gay men (and women.) Traditionally, where else could men who would prefer the company of other men, and NOT want to be married, lead a comfortable life without fear of reprisal or scandal?
    Now…for the REAL IMPORTANT matter at hand….damn..that guy in the first pic (Sargent I think)…nice package! 😉

  12. Alan says

    Good points, PSMIKE – and well said. As for controlling ownership, I’m not concerned. I’m just pleased other people are getting to see them. They’ve been laying in a cigar box for the last 70 years and were nearly tossed into the trash. If anyone wants to copy them for some other purpose – put them in a book or gay magazine or make a poster out of one or whatever else – they certainly have my permission. Thanks again for commenting.

  13. PSMike says

    RJ..honey…..chill. If they’re not really Alan’s grandmother’s second husband (is that right..did it by memory)..well….I knew him as well as I knew the movie…..still great pictures..and with same relevance.

  14. Zoey Mae says

    I look at these pictures and I wonder if any of them died in the war. Everyone seems to asking whether or not the man kept the photos because he was gay. Maybe. Maybe he kept them because some of his friends were killed. I have some photos of my friends in Iraq. In many of them, they are horsing around and hugging–men and women. They are so close because they share a unique experience. They could go to work the next day and be killed. Are they having sex behind the barracks? Or are they hanging on tight to a friend while they can? Far more the latter than the former.

  15. Alan says

    Remember the photos are not from wartime, they are from 1933 and 1934. WWII didn’t start until Dec. 7 1941 – right? I’m not sure what the usual length of duty was then and I suppose some of them could have been career Navy guys but it seems more likely to me the photos were kept just because the guys were friends, to remember good times in peacetime in Hawaii and Cuba and so forth.