In 1929, a large number of immigrants moved to America. Many of them were German immigrants who brought with them their ideas about the nudist lifestyle.
They were the first to make Americans see that nudism can exist without being shameful or sinful. One of these German immigrants was Kurt Barthel, who became known as the founder of American nudism. He became friends with other Germans in New York and the United States who practiced social nudism and allowed himself to be designated as a contact person for Americans interested in the movement.
Meanwhile, another immigrant, Ilsley Boone, must be known for his work at the same time. He was a retired Dutch minister in New Jersey who launched a Christian nudist movement. In 1929, on Labor Day, Barthel took a group of people on a picnic in the Hudson Mountains. What made the tour unique in America was the fact that each member of the party had picnics naked, thus creating the first organized nudist recreation.
He organized his participants into a club that paid dues and called it the American League of Physical Culture (SALW). In 1930, he moved the group to Spring Valley, New York, and opened the first official nudist club. In 1931, the club had more than 200 members and moved again, this time to Dover, New Jersey. As soon as he moved to NJ, Barthel became friends with Ilsley and asked him to take his place as president of the SALW. Ilsley agreed and changed the organization’s name to American Sunbathing Association.
The club continued to grow and fought against adversity. The club still exists today with the name it finally agreed to in 1995, which is the American Association for Nude Recreation, or AANR. Ilsley Boone’s precept was based on the idea that a nudist is one who goes without clothes, unless required by comfort or social norms to wear them; that for many forms of work and recreation in the open it is better to perform them naked than to dress. He defended the need for a nudist society that is healthier than one that requires clothes all the time.
The period from 1932 to 1933 saw several other nudist clubs and resorts open in the United States, some of which are still in operation today, including the Rock Lodge Club in Stockholm, New Jersey, the Squaw Mountain Ranch in Estacada, Oregon, and the Kaniksu Ranch near Spokane, Washington.
Source: Os Naturistas
Original Publication 23 February, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 22nd March 2021
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