Ilsley Boone

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The Reverend Ilsley Boone, known to relatives and friends as "Uncle Danny", was born in 1879 in Brooklyn, New York and died in 1968 in Whitehouse, Ohio.[1] He was a charismatic speaker, a powerful organizer, and is the founding father of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR), then called The American Sunbathing Association (ASA).

Early life[edit]

Little is known of Boone's early life. In 1904, he graduated from Brown University, and three years later from the Newton Theological Institute. Originally ordained as a Baptist, in 1921 he became pastor of the Church of the Ponds (Dutch Reformed)[2] in Oakland, New Jersey.

Nudist Activism[edit]

In 1930, Kurt Barthel had formed The American League for Physical Culture (ALPC), America's first nudist organization, and the following year Boone became the ALPC Executive Secretary. Soon after, Barthel asked him to take his place as President of the ALPC, which Boone continued on as for 20 years, until August 1952[3] (when the organization was then The American Sunbathing Association).

In 1931, Boone opened Sunshine Park in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, New Jersey (near Atlantic City), and established the ASA national headquarters there. As a faithful adherent to Barthel’s original ideals and behavior guidelines, "Uncle Danny" tightly controlled the management of each new club, and mandated the full natural regimen of abstinence from alcohol, calisthenics, mandatory nudity during any weather and vegetarianism for all members and their guests. In the early 1960s, the park was purchased by Psychologist Oliver York for $120,000. It continued on for another two decades until health violations forced its closure by the city.[4]

Publications[edit]

In 1933, Boone published the first American nudist magazine, The Nudist, which later became Sunshine & Health, published by his Sunshine Publishing Company. Even with the genitalia airbrushed out of the photos of nudists, the United States Postal Service decided the materials were obscene and could not be distributed through the U.S. mail, but Boone challenged the decision and took his case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In 1958, he ultimately won the right to distribute uncensored nudist materials through the mail. The victory enabled not only legitimate nudist magazines and men's magazines to feature full frontal nudity (including Hugh Hefner's Playboy Magazine), but also unintentionally helped make possible the later oncoming flood of explicit adult publications during The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s.

In 1963, because of the proliferation of more successful competing nudist and adult publications, his Sunshine Publishing Company finally went out of business. Nearly broke, Boone lived his last years in the Ohio home of National Nudist Council member Edith Church, where he died on Thanksgiving Day in 1968 at age 89. But his magazine Sunshine & Health was continued on by another publisher for several more years into the 1980s, making it the longest published nudist magazine in America.

Books[edit]

Periodicals[edit]

  • College Hill Verse: Being selections from student publications of Brown University 1894-1904 (editor, 1904)
  • The Nudist (1933-1963)
  • Sunshine & Health (1933-1963)

See also[edit]

Portal icon Nudity portal

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mussell 2010.
  2. ^ Time 1935.
  3. ^ Panama City News-Herald Newspaper, 18 Aug 1952, Panama City, Florida
  4. ^ Barlas 2009.

References[edit]