Researching Nudist History
With a nod to Women’s History Month, I want to say that Eleanor of Aquitaine was a real party girl. Married first to the King of France, and then the King of England, she was a very powerful woman in the Middle Ages. She participated in battles during the Crusades, reportedly enjoyed many suitors while married to the King of France and was involved in revolts and intrigue during her reign as Queen of England. And you thought history was boring and stuffy and just a bunch of dates and wars! Really, it’s the story of mankind, and it is very exciting and fun to read.
There are many fascinating stories in history, including (perhaps especially) in the history of nudism. It’s relatively easy to find accurate historical information about royal figures from the Middle Ages or about the Crusades. Any library, physical or online, is going to have many resources to tap into.
However, the same is not true about an accurate history of organized social nudism. Type “history of nudism” into the Google search bar and you get 453,000 responses in .38 seconds. That’s a lot of stories, some accurate, but also including a lot of misinformation and junk writing. Anyone can write anything and post it to the internet. Who better to tell the story of nudism than those who live the nudist life? Of course it should be those who can gather accurate information and historical documents that tell the real stories of nudist communities and lives. Having this information available will help to dispel some crazy myths about nudism and some of the garbage that is contained in those 453,000 responses on Google. There are several nudist research libraries in the United States and Canada. They probably exist elsewhere in the world too, and hopefully, that information will be forthcoming. The dedicated volunteers who organize, maintain and staff these libraries are currently trying to find ways to come together and share information, and make it easily available to the public. The Research and Education Committee of AANR is also involved in this effort and is seeking the involvement of all interested nudists and researchers.
The American Nudist Research Library, Inc. is located in Kissimmee, Florida, on the grounds of Cypress Cove Nudist Resort and Spa. This is one of the more well-known libraries, but there are also on-going efforts to strengthen and expand libraries in the AANR-Northwest region and in California through the Western Nudist Research Library. and in the Western Canada region of AANR. The Naturist Society has a large research library, and there is an effort in Anchorage, Alaska to gather information and put together a library collection.
There may be efforts in places that we do not know about. Our goal is to connect all the people who may have an established library or are trying to build one. This is an important endeavor with a long-term focus. Success will depend on the support and involvement of many people in many areas. If you are interested in learning more or have information to share about efforts you know are taking place, please contact Joan Harris: firstname.lastname@example.org