American Association for Nude Recreation

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The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) is a nudist organization in the United States.


AANR was created out of a struggle to take control of what was supposed to be a national organization of nudist clubs, which existed under the operating name of The American Sunbathing Association, or ASA, and was operated by Rev. Ilsley Boone.

While the ASA was publicly held out to be a national association of nudist clubs, it was in fact operated as a private business, with the profits from direct membership sales and the sale of magazines and books that were printed and published by Boone's publishing house, Sunshine Press going to Boone himself.

While controlling the finances of the ASA, Boone also had sole control over the membership lists, with names and addresses of all of the members of the ASA, who were also the subscribers of its newsletter and magazines.

Many of the member clubs resented the way that Boone ran the ASA, and his self-styled title as President for life, and sought on two occasions to remove him from the organization and take it over by appointing their own board and president, however as Boone possessed the only copies of the membership roll and had exclusive access to the bank accounts, both attempts ended in failure.

The third effort to take control of the ASA away from Boone succeeded, with the issue finally being settled in a New Jersey court where the magistrate overseeing the matter declared that the records and finances of the ASA under Boone were hopelessly confused and beyond salvage. The court ordered the dissolution of the ASA, and for all legal purposes the ASA ceased to exist at that time. The member clubs who had pushed for the court hearings then created a new organization, also called the American Sunbathing Association, in 1951. Note that not all of the former ASA clubs were part of this effort, though a majority did participate in the move to oust Boone, and joined the new ASA. The clubs that remained loyal to Boone changed their national affiliation to a new organization that Boone had created in 1950 called the National Nudist Council (NNC).

The NNC operated as the second national nudist organization of clubs until the death of Boone in 1968, when the organization was shut down by long-time Boone supporter and confidante Edith Church.

AANR is now an association of approximately 259 U.S. nudist non-landed clubs, resorts and parks. Individuals and families may become members of AANR. While not always required for admitance to an AANR affiliated club, AANR membership entitles the member to a discount, and a basic bona fides.

The association promotes nudism and nude recreation in appropriate settings and lobbies various levels of government in the interest of its affiliates and of nudist recreation.

Nude bathers during an event organized by the AANR in Florida 2009

In 1929, Kurt Barthel organized the first American nudist club, the American League for Physical Culture (ALPC). Henry S. Huntington joined the ALPC in November 1929 and former Dutch Reformed Pastor Ilsley Boone and David Livingston joined in July 1931 after reading the book Among the Nudists.[1] Huntington and Boone were ministers and Livingston, also known as Gilbert (or Gil) Parks, was a businessman. Boone was elected vice president of the ALPC in 1931, but by October 1931 became president.

Also in 1931, the police raided the ALPC gymnasium and those present were charged with public indecency. On December 9, 1931, a New York court dismissed all charges, stating that the exposure was neither public nor indecent.[citation needed]

In late 1931, Huntington, Boone and Livingston created a new organization they named the International Nudist League (INL). Livingston was appointed the first president and editor of the INL publication The Nudist. The first annual meeting of IN was in August 1932 and consisted of three clubs. The name of the International Nudist League was changed, without explanation, to the International Nudist Conference (INC) following that meeting.

The Comstock Law was invoked in 1933 to ban the distribution through the United States Postal Office of The Nudist as obscene, even with the genitals airbrushed out of the photos. The matter finished up in the United States Supreme Court, where the AANR ultimately won the right to distribute its materials through the mail.[citation needed]

After several years, INL changed its name to the American Sunbathing Association (ASA) as Boone, took over the organization. During his behind the scenes controlling tenure, the group grew much larger. "The Nudist" was renamed "Sunshine and Health."

In 1946, the geographic regions were formed as separate entities. A vote changing the bylaws at the 1951 ASA convention ousted Boone's handpicked leaders and changed voting rules. Following a one year legal battle and judicial oversight, the 1952 convention once again voted to reaffirm the bylaw changes. Boone went off to found another nudist association, albeit a much smaller one. The association grew to more than 50,000 members and in 1995 changed its name again to the American Association for Nude Recreation.[2]

Under Boone, AANR was considered a Christian organization (though open to people of all beliefs; something akin to the YMCA). This began to change in the 1960s, as both the AANR and society in general became more secular.

After a 2003 article in the New York Times discussed AANR's Youth Leadership Camps for the children of nudists, Rep. Mark Foley called for an investigation of the camps, claiming concerns of possible child endangerment. An AANR spokesperson, Carolyn Hawkins, stated that the organization is protective of children, whether at the camp or elsewhere and that since the AANR began youth camps in 1992, there have been no reported incidents of pedophilia.[3][4]

AANR currently charters around 259 nudist resorts and campgrounds across the United States. The AANR charter establishes baseline standards, among which is providing for a family-friendly atmosphere. The organization is based in Florida.


AANR is divided into seven regions with affiliated clubs and business partners to better serve the members. These regions are devoted to promoting family nude recreation in their geographic areas. Note the "Southwestern Region" encompasses the area more commonly known as the South Central United States, the Western Region does not include the Pacific Northwest, and Canada is split into three sections, with only Western Canada having its own separate regional division not grouped together with the U.S.

Awards and associations[edit]

The AANR has received awards from the Hospitality Marketing and Sales Association International and the American Society of Association Executives.

The AANR belongs to the American Recreation Coalition, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the Park Law Enforcement Association.[5]

In September 2010, the AANR withdrew its association with the International Naturist Federation, accusing the INF of being Eurocentric. [6][7]

Political activity[edit]

The AANR has lobbied governments to allow nudism in the United States and Canada. In 2005, they were successful in having nude recreation exempted from anti-nudity laws in West Virginia; Tennessee; California; Dawson County, Georgia; and Lake County, Florida.[8]

After hearing about an adult-oriented businesses ordinance in Carroll County, Virginia, an AANR representative in January 2007, faxed to the county attorney a couple suggestions for legal language changes, including a proposed exemption for members of its society. The suggestion read: “No person shall be in violation of this section in or at a club event sanctioned under legal association with the American Association for Nude Recreation,”[9] The association's input was considered but ultimately rejected.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frances Merrill 1931.
  2. ^ Carolyn Hawkins (2007), The History of Nudism in America (PDF), American Association for Nude Recreation 
  3. ^ Morahan, Lawrence (June 20, 2003). "Congressman Calls for Investigation of Nudist Camp for Kids". Cybercast News Service. 
  4. ^ Pearson, Rachel (March 11, 2005). "They're not clothes-minded". The Daily Texan. 
  5. ^ Carolyn Hawkins (2008), American Association for Nude Recreation:Fact Sheet (PDF), American Association for Nude Recreation 
  6. ^ "Minutes of the meeting of the 32nd INF-FNI World Congress... September 2010" (PDF). International Naturist Federation. September 2010. 
  7. ^ "AANR Resigns from INF" (PDF). Solar West. 17 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Talk About Nudism". 2005-08-03. Retrieved 2006-09-16. 
  9. ^ Brooke, Christopher (2007-01-12). "Group seeks exemption for nude recreation". Galax Gazette. Retrieved 2007-01-12. [dead link]


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