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Health and Efficiency Magazine – 100+ years of nudism


If you are a nudist, or a naturist in some circles, then you will know Health and Efficiency Magazine, which is now called H&E naturist magazine. This is no ordinary niche journal serving a very particular group of people – Health and Efficiency began publishing in 1900, so it has a long history. It has championed nudity for decades, witnessed its growth and supported the lifestyle.

I have a question about the magazine’s original name. I can understand ‘health’ – all that vitamin D from sunshine is, indeed, healthy. But where did the ‘efficiency’ part come in? Not bothering with clothing makes you efficient? We have a handful of vintage copies of Health and Efficiency on the site, the earliest being the August 1943 issue. They certainly catch the eye. How the magazine has displayed nudity is also interesting? It cannot show nudism as being sexual or else it moves into pornography. That’s tricky for a start. The front cover of the 1943 issue shows a lady wearing some clothing as she healthily dips her hand in the water, but the issues from the 1950s show completely naked ladies (although their actual ‘under-carriage’ is not shown). A Google image search shows some pretty up-front covers from later decades, but, again, bits are shown but not their pieces.

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