You are on page 1of 3

Few people understand that swimsuits, as we know them

today, are a relatively recent notion. The notion of
wearing special clothing to swim in is hardly a century old.
160. Skinnydipping, in the local river or farm pond, is well-documented as an important
historical part of
our national heritage.
Skinnydipping and outdoor nudity appear in the writings of Walt Whitman, Mark Twain,
William Allen
White, Lincoln Steffens, William Styron, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Herman Melville, James
Michener, and Henry
Miller, among many others, and in the depictions of Norman Rockwell, Rockwell Kent,
Andrew Wyeth, Thomas
Eakins, John Sloane, and Grant Wood.
161. Many YMCA, college, and high school male-only pools or swimming courses were
"swimsuit-discretionary" or nude-only until federally-mandated "equal access" fit programs
(for the sake of girls)
were instituted in the mid 1970s.231
162. Nowadays, there are still public places where nudity is, by local tradition or custom, the
Nudity is the norm, for example, in natural crude hot springs and on nude beaches; and,
universally, for models in art classes.
163. The few officially approved nude beaches in the U.S. (for example, Rooster Rock State
Oregon) and Canada (Wreck Beach, British Columbia)--and most of the unofficial seashores
as well--have existed for
decades without essential issues.232
164. Many highly respected folks, historical and modern, have espoused and/or participated
Naturism to some amount.
Benjamin Franklin took daily nude "air baths." 233 So did Henry David Thoreau, who was
also a regular
skinnydipper.234 Alexander Graham Bell was a skinnydipper and naked sunbather.235
George Bernard Shaw, Walt
Whitman, Eugene O'Neill, and claimed in favor of social nudity.236
President John Quincy Adams was a routine skinnydipper. Based on reports, "each morning
he got up
before dawn, walked across the White House lawn to the Potomac River, took off his clothes
and swam in the nude.
Then he returned to the White House to get breakfast, read the Bible and run the nation."

237 President Theodore
Roosevelt often swam nude in Rock Creek Park in Washington, once skinny dipping with the
French diplomat,
Jules Jusserand.238 President Lyndon Johnson sometimes swam naked with guests in the
white house pool,
including evangelist Billy Graham. 239 Senator Edward Kennedy has been photographed
skinnydipping at people
Shores in Florida. At the White House of his brother, John F. Kennedy, nudity had been
common around the White
House pool.240 Many U.S. congressmen appreciate nude recreation, albeit segregated: U.S.
Senate members may use the
Russell Senate Office Building Pool in the nude (the few female Senators make
appointments to assure there won't
be men on hand), and Representatives may use a clothing-optional steam room, where
President Bush was said by
Newsweek to hang out sans towel with his pals. Congressmen also sunbathed nude on the
Speaker's Veranda until
one day in 1973 when Rep. Patricia Schroeder drifted into the assembly inadvertently.241
Billionaire insurance guy John D. MacArthur often went skinnydipping, and left a shore to the
of Florida, meaning that a piece be designated clothing-optional (a wish that's been spurned);
word has it that
MacArthur went skinnydipping with Walt Disney at this shore in the late 1960s.242 World
Bank president and
former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and American Civil Liberties Union
founder Roger Baldwin,
both have been regular skinnydippers.243 Charles F. Richter, the co-inventor of the quake
measuring system,
was a life -long nudist and Naturist.244 Celebrity Lynn Redgrave and her family practice
societal nudism.245 Actresses
Bridget Fonda and Brigitte Bardot appreciate social nudity.246 The late actor Gary Merrill
recommended nudism.247
Christy Brinkley openly declares to frequenting nude beaches,248 and Christian singer Amy
Grant goes topfree on
foreign beaches while on tour overseas.249 Even the late Dr. Seuss published acceptance of
a nudist philosophy, in
one of his first books.250
165. Historically, view and artists have regarded Naturism, or something close to it, to be
part of the utopian ideal.
R. Martin writes: "Anthropologically, nakedness would appear to be the best and worst of
Involuntary stripping to nakedness is defeat or poverty, but willed nakedness might be a
perfect kind." 251 Nudity is
also consistent with the Christian utopian idea of heaven, in which, according to biblical

accounts, clothing is not
166. Nudity has often been used, historically, as a sign of protest or rebellion against
For example, the early Quakers, in mid-17th century England, often used nudity as an
element of protest.
Historian Elbert Russell notes that "A variety of men and women were detained and punished
for public indecency