Pages of History

The newsletter of the Naturist Education Foundation and the Naturist Action Committee.

Volume 1, Number 11.  November 2020.

A Public Beach Defense Advisory

Richard Mason, NAC Board Member
[Editor's Note:  This is a must-read for naturists venturing to public lands who wish to protect themselves.  Richard's experience and wisdom in this area is gold, and the Naturist Action Committee is doing its best to preserve and disseminate this knowledge.  We sincerely hope that you never find yourself facing a citation, but if you do, it's good to be prepared.]

Before a naturist makes a decision to go to a specific beach location to get nude, they should have completed a "predictive thinking" mental exercise on how they would behave if approached by a law enforcement officer, how it would be best for them to act, and what they would do to try to avoid a ticket.

By rehearsing those functions in advance, a person won't panic and make mistakes that could make the situation more difficult for themselves.

Your first thoughts should be on how to avoid a citation.

Before you stock the cooler, pack your "legal defense kit".  When you go to a public beach, you should have with you a copy of the following:
  • Your most current membership cards for The Naturist Society and/or The Naturist Society Foundation and/or the American Association for Nude Recreation and/or your local nudist resort or naturist beach group.
  • A copy of the Naturist Beach Etiquette (link to Haulover's, on right side of the page.)
  • A copy of the Naturist Bill of Rights (link)
  • A copy of your driver's license
  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution (link, see "AMENDMENT VI")

Put these, or copies of them, in a sturdy freezer quality zippered storage bag.  

The importance of these documents is to differentiate yourself from the other people who may go nude with a sexual agenda in mind.  It should go without saying, but if you have a condom in with these documents, it defeats the whole purpose.

The law enforcement officer does not know you, but he/she will most likely prejudge you based on his/her previous experiences.

You do not know why the law enforcement officer is there.  They may be there on a specific complaint against you, or they may be there because the police department sheriff's office has been receiving several complaints and the officer was sent there on a sweep.

It is important to know which reason sent them there so you can think out a defense strategy.
  1. If they were sent there specifically on a complaint against you, it is important to know because that will kick-in specific US Constitutional protections.  (Read the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution.)
  2. If they are there on a general sweep, then the legal documents will be your first line of defense in differentiating you from the people they were sent there to cite.
Don't reach into your beach bag at any time.  If you have everything stowed in your beach bag, inform the officer and immediately give them permission to examine your beach bag.  Obviously, your bag should already be clear of any recreational drugs or firearms.

Special note to top-free sunbathers: If an officer asks you to stand up, don't reach into your beach bag for your bra top without asking permission first.  If that request is ignored and you get a second command to stand, you must stand up - top or no top.  If the officer is an aggressive officer, they can legally grab you and wrestle you to a standing position.

If you don't stand up, the officer can also charge you for refusing a police command.  Complying with law enforcement commands will help prevent added charges of obstruction.

By being pro-actively savvy and cooperative you may put the officer more at ease and establish a friendly atmosphere which can aid in diffusing the situation.

Inform the officer that if nude sunbathing is discouraged in that location, you will be happy to get dressed and leave the area.

At this point in time you must listen to the officer carefully.  Show respect to the officer, no matter how upset you are about the situation.  It helps!

If they indicate that they are going to write a citation, ask what law you are being charged with violating.

Most deputies and police officers do not know the laws as defined by court rulings (case law).  They are trained at the police academy in state statute law and local ordinances.  They only go by these and their, or their supervisor's, personal prejudices.

[Editor's Note:  NAC and NEF maintain a statute law page and a case law page.  They are a great starting point for research, and we welcome any updates that naturists find.  Lastly, for some specific cases in NAC's history, there are also whitepapers that may help.]

In legal research leading up to the establishment of Florida's Haulover Beach as a legally designated naturist beach, a case was found where a woman was arrested for swearing and cursing at a police officer who had gone to her home on a domestic violence call.  The officer charged her with "swearing and cursing" at him -- thus, offending him.  To wit: disorderly conduct (southern-style).  The judge ruled that the police officer was being paid to be offended and could not be an offended party in the case.

This case was used as a "precedent" in South Florida Free Beach's (SFFB's) efforts to get citations dismissed.

This case was from a small town in Florida and could easily be challenged as "not having standing" in any other jurisdictions because the judge who made that decision was in a lower court.

Remember, we are in Florida -- as a southern state -- and the laws on the books that we are dealing with were written during the time of slavery to control the black population.  Those laws remained on the books after reconstruction and were known as the Jim Crow laws - The Antebellum reality.

They are still there although court decisions have ruled in certain cases that they do not apply.  Federal civil-rights acts and court decisions are the controlling precedents in cases involved in constitutional rights, but you must know that to protect yourself.  The law enforcement officers or the prosecutors will not teach you.  This is when it is good for one to know about self-interest study and citizen responsibility.

In Florida, the disorderly conduct laws were used to staff convict road gangs.  In the past, sheriffs would arrest black men and rent them out to farms and steel mills.  A sheriff did not need to have much cause to cite a person for disorderly conduct or even have them arrested.

Because of the over-broad interpretation of the disorderly conduct statutes, they were also used against naturists who were sunbathing while merely nude.

A conflict arises between the disorderly conduct statutes, the way they are used in the southern states, and the US Constitution.  Generally, a deputy is called to report a public nudity situation.  They are then responding to a complaint.

Amendment 6 of the US Constitution states, and has been interpreted, that the witnesses must have provided a signed complaint or appear in court.  In Miami at the police academy they teach that witnesses must sign a complaint and must also appear in court.

If there is no one to challenge that issue, it will be overlooked by the system; and not to the advantage of the defendant.

It really is a little complicated because if the prosecutor wants to convict you and he gets a judge that wants to convict you (to teach you a lesson), and if you don't have an attorney, you most likely will be convicted in this casino.

Most important for you is to know that the judge and the prosecutors are not your attorneys, and they are not there to see you get justice.  The judge is there to listen to arguments.  If you have none, then the prosecutor's words become the facts.  The judge is there to review the charges brought against you.  If you have no attorney to represent you and you do not know the law or your rights, the judge will accept the charges as being valid and convict you.

What has been learned time and time again is that the whole court system is like a casino, and one cannot necessarily expect justice there.  If you want justice usually you must be willing to spend a lot of money on attorneys and appeals, and even then you may not necessarily get justice.  You get a court ruling.

If you do not have the money to hire an attorney, there are public defenders and pro-bono attorneys available.

What is in our advantage, as naturists, is that the courts' systems are clogged with cases, and the judges at the lower courts have been instructed to avoid jury and bench trials and to get the cases resolved at the court hearings.  In most jurisdictions the hearing is the bench trial.

Also, in Florida there are a few court cases in our favor plus the jury instructions issued by the Florida Supreme Court which state that mere nudity is not lewd and lascivious.

If that sounds confusing, it is, but the person that speaks with an affirmative voice and has the right documents with them at court will usually win.

I, thru SFFB, have assisted with well over 200 cases.  All were dismissed.  We first educate the person who was cited.  After hearing the elements of the case, we send them information that can help them get the case dismissed in court if they are planning to defend themselves.

We recommend they have an attorney.  If the charge is disorderly conduct, they may get lucky on their own and get the case dismissed.  If the charges are areas such as; indecent exposure, lewd & lascivious, or sexual enticement, these are serious, and a conviction may get you on the sexual predator list, which can ruin your life.

Nude sunbathing does not reach the level of indecent exposure, but you can get convicted without a strong defense.  We work with public defenders and private attorneys.

Naturists need to take the time to study the court decisions concerning public nudity in the state they are living or even the state they are visiting for nude recreation.

Visit or speak to the public defender in your county or the county where nude recreation is located.  Research the case law together or online or visit a public or university law library.  There are students working in these libraries who can help you.  Protect yourself and your colleagues.

Most attorneys do not know anything about public nudity law.  If you do not know what questions to ask, you may get an attorney who will tell you to plead "No Contest", which is basically a plea of "Guilty" in that it has the same primary legal effects as a guilty plea.  However, you cannot appeal the judgement made against you.

Most citations written for mere nudity are written wrong, based on the differences between "mere nudity" and "nudity with intent to entice" or "nudity in an indecent manner".

Protect yourself.  Be smart -- and polite -- about it, and keep the legalities in mind.  Please share this information with others too.

Moses Littauer and his 1921 Naturist Colony

Doug Hickok, NEFRL Director

When the Library of Congress Labs debuted it's Newspaper Navigator, I plugged in my usual list of naturist keywords, and stumbled onto an interesting piece of 100-year-old naturist history that isn't in the history books.  In general, and to put it into context, this is nearly a decade before the beginning of proper organized naturism in the US.  Kurt Barthel, Ilsley Boone, The American League for Physical Culture, and Sky Farm are all rooted in the early 1930's.

How do I know this isn't in the history books?  I checked them, at the NEF Research Library.

Cec Cinder's "The Nudist Idea", published in 1998 with 678 pages, is widely considered one of the most authoritative books on the subject.  There's a section discussing some very old American naturism in the late 1800's and into the 1900's, but Littauer seems to escape that.  The index at the back of Cinder's book lists a lot of names, but not his!

Perhaps a book that covers naturist history that's closer to 1921?  Frances and Mason Merrill's "Nudism Comes to America", published in 1932, is perhaps the best shot Littauer had at being in the history books.  However, the Merrill's had this to say:  "Before 1930, no record of an article on European nudism is to be found, at least in the better known and established monthlies or weeklies." (Page 27).  It's pretty clear that the Merrill's missed this one.

To be fair, Cinder and the Merrill's didn't have access to many terabytes of digitized history, all wrapped up neatly into a search box.  (Cinder at least had Yahoo! and AltaVista -- Google appeared the same year he published "The Nudist Idea".  As far as I'm aware, historical collections such as newspapers were not being digitized yet.)  Now that the web has matured, and there's interest in archives digitizing their huge collections for easy keyword searchability and public access, naturists are destined to find interesting new nuggets of history!

Since this article from the Corpus Christi Caller (from Texas) is old enough to be public domain, I'm able to re-print it in full here.  This is from August 7th, 1921, page 5.  (The story was syndicated in several other newspapers as well, like the Cumberland Evening Times (Maryland), the Sheboygan Press (Wisconsin), the Bisbee Daily Review (Arizona), and the Daily Capital News (Jefferson City, Missouri).)


Image Caption: 'Here is one family of a "Naturist" colony, living on the summit of "Freedom Hill" in the Orange Mountains, N. J.  In the foreground is Moses Littauer, the bearded "Master" of the cult.  They take "sun baths" each day and are strict vegetarians.  The clothing they wear is designed to give them freedom of movement and comfort.'

Vegetarians Live on $1 a Week

It's Easy -- Head of New Jersey Naturist Colony Shows You How.


    PLAINFIELD, N. J., Aug. 6. [1921] -- You can leave all the complexities of modern existence behind.

    All you have to do is promise to love and obey two tenets of the Naturist Colony, humanitarianism and vegetarianism.

    Moses Littauer, who fled New York four years ago and built himself a dug-out on Freedom Hill, above Plainfield, has been followed by naturists from New York and other places, until today a colony of 60 are leading the back-to-nature existence in the wooded New Jersey tract.

    You'll find the naturistic existence not only simple but cheap.  A dollar a week is all it will cost you for board and keep!

    Clothes -- oh, clothes don't worry the followers of the Naturist colony.

    I found Moses Littauer naturistically clothed in a heavy suit of tan, a biblical beard, long flowing locks and B. V. D.'s.

    As we talked a male child, garbed in a pre-fall-of-Eden costume, strolled blithely by.

    Littauer was preparing his noonday meal.

    The dollar a week menu consists, he explained, of a pound of raw oats a day (five cents) or a pound of corn meal a day (three and a half cents)

    Littauer and his followers have a garden which they cultivate themselves.

    So if you don't care for raw oats as a steady diet, all you have to do is to go into the garden and pull a nice raw parsnip or onion and chew it.

    Littauer points not to himself but to his followers as proof of the health-giving properties of the humanitarian naturist diet.

    Not even milk passes Littauer's lips.  "Dairy food comes from animal life -- I couldn't touch it," he said.

    Bare feet and no corsets characterize the feminine naturists.  But bobbed hair is disapproved by Littauer.

    "Long hair," he said, "attracts magnetic forces from Nature."

    "My motive for coming here -- and my ultimate plan?" he repeated.  "Why just to lead and help others to lead a natural life."


A second photo of this "colony" was published a month later by "The Herald" (New Orleans, Louisiana, September 1st, 1921).  Littauer is the subject in the photo.
Image Caption:  ' "NATURISTS" LIVING SIMPLE LIFE IN NEW JERSEY MOUNTAIN COLONY.  The colonists live in tents and in tiny bungalows.'

What are BVD's, as mentioned in the article?  It's the brand name of a company founded in 1876 by Bradley, Voorhees, and Day.  In 1976, this underwear manufacturer was bought by Fruit of the Loom.

Where, exactly, is "Freedom Hill"? After looking at several historical maps of the Plainfield area, none are identified as Freedom Hill.  Perhaps a local who knows the Orange Mountains could identify it for us?

Since "$1 a week" is part of the headline, in 2020 dollars that would be $14.55.  I can understand why that might be an impressive headline -- the best I've done while in college was about $4 per day in food costs (in 2020 dollars).  Either way, I appreciate how the vegetarianism is the main headline, and the "naturist colony" aspect is a less significant part of the story.  Imagine the change of focus if this news story were written today!

Who is Moses Littauer?  A little more about this "bearded master of the cult" can be found in a rather surprising place thanks to a Google Books search:  "Tastes of Faith: Jewish Eating in the United States -- The Jewish Role in American Life" (Volume 15, published in 2017 by Dr. Leah Hochman)

Thanks to Hochman's research and the New York Public Library's archive, it appears that Littauer was more than a simple naturist vegetarian, but an author of a journal.

Hochman writes, as part of a chapter on "Vegetarian Writing and Recipes in Yiddish as Political Strategies":
    'Der Naturist (un Vegetarier) (The Naturist [and Vegetarian]), [Volume 1 Number 1, April 1920, authored by Moses Littauer], may be the earliest vegetarian journal published in Yiddish.  It offered only one recipe in its first and only issue.  The recipe was for a "tsimes" made with grated raw apple, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and came with a promise that more substantial dishes from Jewish and American cuisine would be forthcoming in future issues.  The questions and answers column advised that the only vegetarian part of Swiss cheese is the holes.  The front cover had quotations from the Baal Shem Tov and Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, revered figures of the Hasidic world, hinting that the editor might have taken inspiration from religious sources, but the content of the journal is entirely secular, quoting extensively from Lev Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore, and the American Transcendentalists.'

So what happened to Littauer after his fame in the early 1920's?  It seems his colony wasn't sustainable, and he returned to New York.  He still kept doing what he believed in!  An Esquire article published in June 1st, 1939 titled "Neither Flesh, Fish, Nor Fowl" (available online) states:
    'Moses Littauer, one of the founders of the [New York Vegetarian] group, who established the Pythagorean Vegetarian Eating Place (the first of its kind on the East Side), still operates a dingy little basement Vegetaria in the neighborhood.  An ardent naturopath, sometimes called the "Gandhi" of East Broadway, Littauer wears a scraggly beard, has not had a haircut in twenty years, wears as few clothes as possible and sleeps outdoors on his back porch summer and winter.'

Mystery Artists

Doug Hickok, NEFRL Director

I've previously written about Fidus, but there's certainly other similar artists who contributed to old German magazines like Die SchönheitIf anyone can figure out who these signatures belong to, please let us know!  They are likely from German artists who were active in the early 1900's.

Another Win for Top-Freedom

Doug Hickok, NAC Board Member

When the Naturist Action Committee first got word July 13th that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board was planning to repeal a law banning female toplessness, we were happy.  The situation was already going in our favor, so there was nothing we had to take action on.  Per the news story on July 13th, the board was already very much in favor of top-equality.

The ordinance in question is PB 2-21:  "No person ten (10) years of age or older shall intentionally expose his or her own genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast below the top of the areola, with less than a fully opaque covering in or upon any park or parkway."  It goes on to allow nudity with performances, and there's no exemption for breastfeeding.

There was a second issue brewing at the time though.  A popular beach at Twin Lake, known for being somewhat "hidden" and safe for those wishing to bare their bodies a little more, was also the target of some complaints.  When officers arrived, they would often find beach-goers already covered up.

The officers turned to using drone surveillance to capture proof of nude sunbathing.  This blew up into national news and put the officers on the defensive over this tactic.  (News stories 1, 2 from around July 17th.)  After a month, it did blow over, but the park ordinance was still in place.

On August 17th, only two days before the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board was planning to vote on the repeal, Mpls.St.Paul magazine ran an article about it.  Although it's a good article, it brought attention to the issue once again just before the public was allowed to comment on it.  Of course, there was some backlash.  On August 19th, the board meeting minutes recorded 20 people opposing the ordinance repeal, and 2 that supported the repeal, during the public comment portion.  The board decided to table the motion indefinitely in a 5-to-2 vote.

Due to this uncertain outcome, which usually leads to the motion being dropped eventually, the Naturist Action Committee decided to get involved.  On October 21st, Richard Mason sent a letter to multiple boards that were involved or had influence.  It's unclear if this influenced anyone's vote, especially since the Park and Recreation Board already was in favor of repealing the ordinance back in July.  Perhaps the letter helped to get the motion back on the table.

On November 18th, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board spent 20 minutes on PB 2-21.  This was the "second and final reading".  Committee members again pointed out that the ordinance had sexist language ("female breast"), lacked an exception for breastfeeding, and perhaps was unenforceable anyway.  (The City Attorney's Office had made it clear that they wouldn't prosecute mere toplessness, as long as there wasn't any lewd behavior.)

The board specifically stated that they did NOT simply wait for the issue to cool down since summer.  They've done their research and had a nice powerpoint that reviewed the laws in Minneapolis and at the state level, and even went into case law which dealt more with flashing, streaking, and other things that purposefully drew attention.  The state and city laws focus on lewd conduct, not specifically body parts.  §617.23 of the state law says in part "willfully and lewdly exposes the person's body, or the private parts thereof".  Minneapolis ordinance §385.160 says in part "The indecent or lascivious exposure or use of the human body, or any part thereof".

The board pointed out that ordinances superseded by state law are typically just repealed since laws are already on the books that officers can use.  PB 2-21 certainly falls into this category.

They stated the only difference for the "high profile case" last summer was that instead of the officer citing for toplessness per PB 2-21 and the City Attorney not prosecuting it, that it would simply be permitted instead.  The officers would not see mere toplessness as being lewd.

The board also brought up that PB 2-21 is a 14th Amendment issue.  No males have been cited for toplessness, and the ordinance clearly targets women.  A board member talked about a 1986 Minnesota Supreme Court case (State of Minnesota vs. Lee Anne Turner) that justified the sexism of the ordinance by stating that female breasts are erogenous and male breasts aren't.  (Looking up that case, the appeals court stated this:  "The female breasts, unlike male breasts, constitute an erogenous zone and are commonly associated with sexual arousal.  Common knowledge tells us that there is a real difference between the sexes with respect to breasts, which is reasonably related to the preservation of public decorum and morals...")

The board member ended his comment stating "I just don't think those judges knew enough gay people."

Before the motion was brought to a vote, the final comment was: "The Minnesota law doesn't have any sexist provision...  We should be consistent in our rulings regardless of gender."

All 9 board members unanimously voted in favor of repealing the ordinance, thus making top-freedom legal in Minneapolis parks.

And now we wait as the rest of the country comes to this common sense conclusion.  (According to, most seemingly have, but their map is currently missing Utah which was one of the six states in the previous "win" for top-freedom.  Although the state laws might say it's OK, the true test is in the court system.  We highly recommend that you study the laws and case law before exercising this right, and consult with an attorney before going into new territory.  Top-freedom, in most locations, has never been truly tested in the court system.)

Assembled and published for NEF and NAC by Doug Hickok,

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