This September, the American Nudist Research Library had its 40th birthday. This happens to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the start of the Nudist movement in America (September 1929). For both ANRL and the Nudist movement these are important milestones because they demonstrate the ability to continue beyond their founders. It is not unusual for a social movement or an organization to catch on initially but fade after its initial advocates depart. Culture changes slowly, so many good ideas, like Nudism/Naturism, need to persist for several generations before they reach their ultimate potential.
The ANRL serves an important purpose. The pioneers of the movement and subsequent generations produced a rich history of social change and a body of work that lays out the persuasive case for why society should embrace this healthful but unorthodox lifestyle. Archiving these materials and making them available to a broad audience provides a legacy and a foundation for future generations to build upon. It is an institutional memory for the movement, and it shows a measure of pride that the current generation values what has gone before. The conservation and stewardship of the ANRL collection is thus important both for today and for posterity.
The ANRL has been an inspiration to ethicalnaturist.com. The idea for this blog germinated from our discovery of ANRL’s trove of early out of print books, and we return regularly to source new ideas. Any Nudist/Naturist interested in better understanding what they are a part of should visit. The ANRL isn’t the only such collection in the country, but it is a leading one. Importantly, they have formed a consortium with the other major collections, which bodes well for the future.
We congratulate ANRL on 40 years and look forward to the 50th ten years from now!