Ives, George, 1867-1950

Alternative names
Birth 1867-10-01
Death 1950-06-04

Biographical notes:

British author, criminologist, poet, and activist for the homosexual movement.

From the description of Papers, 1886-1949. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122597820

George Cecil Ives, poet and penologist.

From the description of George Ives clippings albums, 1892-1949. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83531627

From the description of George Ives clippings albums, 1892-1949. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702161000

George Cecil Ives was born on October 1, 1867. He was raised by his father's mother, Emma Ives, and referred to her as his mother. Ives and his grandmother primarily resided in England at Bentworth Hall, or in the South of France. Ives was educated at home and at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

In 1892, Ives met Oscar Wilde at the Authors' Club in London. By this time Ives had accepted his homosexuality and was working to promote the end of the oppression of homosexuals, what he called the Cause. Ives hoped that Wilde would join the Cause but Wilde did not have the same compassion towards this movement that Ives did. Lord Alfred Douglas met Ives in 1893 and introduced him to several Oxford poets, whom Ives encouraged to join the Cause.

By 1897, Ives understood that the Cause would not be accepted openly in society and must therefore have a means of underground communication. Thus he created and founded the Order of Chaeronea, a secret society for homosexuals. The name, Order of Chaeronea, was inspired by the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC when the 300 members of the Sacred Band of Thebes (composed entirely of friends and lovers) were slaughtered by the army of Philip of Macedonia. Ives and other members dated letters and other materials based on this date, so that 1899 would be written as C2237. An elaborate system of rituals, ceremonies, a service of initiation, seals, codes, and passwords were used by the members. The Secret Society became a worldwide organization and Ives took advantage of every opportunity to spread the word about the Cause.

The developing study of sex psychology was of great interest to Ives and put him in touch with many of the writers in this field such as Magnus Hirschfeld, Havelock Ellis, Professor Lombroso, and Edward Carpenter. The British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology was founded in 1914 by Carpenter, Hirschfeld, Ives, Laurence Housman, and others. Some of the topics addressed in lecture and publication form by the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology were: the promotion of the scientific study of sex and a more rational attitude towards sexual conduct; problems and questions connected with sexual psychology (from medical, juridical, and sociological aspects), birth control, abortion, sterilization, veneral diseases, and all aspects of prostitution. In 1931, it was resolved to change the name of the organization to the British Sexological Society.

For the BSS and other interested groups, Ives gave lectures and published books entitled Graeco-Roman View of Youth (1926), and The Plight of the Adolescent.

Ives was also noted for his scholarship of penal methods, having traveled around visiting prisions and studying the penal methods of various European countries, particularly England. He lectured to several groups about his findings and also published books on the topic. Among these were Penal Methods in the Middle Ages (1910), A History of Penal Methods (1914), The Continued Extension of the Criminal Law (1922). Other published works by Ives include Book of Chains (1897), though he claimed no authorship for the publication, and another book of verse entitled Eros' Throne (1900).

George Ives died June 4, 1950.

From the guide to the George Cecil Ives Papers TXRC93-A5., 1874-1949, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas at Austin)


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  • Homosexuality--Personal narratives
  • Crime and criminals
  • Sex crimes
  • Fanaticism
  • Gays--Social conditions
  • Prison reform
  • Eccentrics and eccentricities
  • Transvestism
  • Gay liberation movement--History
  • Prison reform, Great Britain
  • Sex Crimes--Great Britain
  • Sex (Psychology)
  • Prisons--Great Britain
  • Crime and Criminals--Great Britain
  • Gay Liberation Movement--Great Britain
  • Prisons
  • Punishment
  • Gay liberation movement
  • Gay Liberation Movement--Great Britain--History
  • Order of Chaeronea
  • Secret Society of Homosexuals
  • Homosexuals--Great Britain--Social Conditions


not available for this record


  • Great Britain (as recorded)