I am a poet and essayist who is writing a book about Jeanne Lattin, a forgotten media sensation who fell from the public eye around 1913. Based on what I’ve found in ancestry databases, it seems she spent the last 30 years of her life in Laguna Beach.
Jeanne’s story before the Laguna Beach years has spellbound me with its many harrowing turns. She lived five adventurous years as a runaway in boys clothing, holding diverse masculine posts (elevator boy, bronco buster, cabin boy on a ship) under many aliases. In 1909, following a series of bold burglaries, she served a year in the now defunct San Quentin Women’s Ward. Next she caught the attention of surgeons who believed they could cure her of “mental waywardness” by extracting a portion of her skull. When this tactic failed, she spent time in the state asylum at Patton in 1913. Then, very quietly, Jeanne receded from view.
I am looking to speak with any living person who may have known the Lattins, or who has information about their circumstances.
Here’s what I know of her life around town: Jeanne’s family lived at 562 Thalia Street (1940 – 1961) and 649 Central Avenue (1930s). Her husband, Floyd Lester Lattin, was a carpenter and the worshipful master at the local masonic lodge. Jeanne served as a member of the library’s board. They both passed away in 1961, exactly three months apart. Jeanne’s obituary references a son, Richard, who survived her. I have found no record of Richard in ancestry databases, and I am curious what fate befell him. Is he still living? Did he have children?
My impossible dream is to find Jeanne Lattin’s diaries, which journalists excerpted in the papers in her childhood.
Please contact me via email at [email protected]