"On Going Naked" 1932 GAY, Jan (SOLD)

GAY, Jan


Garden City Publishing Company

8" x 5 3/4"

Decorations by Zhenya


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The author's real name is Helen Reitman, after she visited various nudist camps in Germany and Switzerland it prompted Jan to write her book "On Going Naked", which she published in 1932 with "decorations" by Zhenya. The book was so successful that she started her own nudist colony in Highlands, New York called the Out-of-Doors Club. Her book was also quickly adapted into a "roadshow" film called "Back to Nature" which was shown in theaters across the county in the Summer of 1933 to adult only audiences. In order to promote the book, film and club, Jan invited several journalists from the Associated Press, United Press and NEA Service to observe and write about the camp. The Out-of-Door Club, the most exclusive and famous of the nudists colonies of the time, started a nudists movement in America which became extremely popular and lasts today. She continued as the Director of the camp at least through 1933 and was in charge of interviewing all of the guests before allowing them in." "Helen Reitman is more commonly known today as Jan Gay, the name she used for involvement in a study of the gay community called "Sex Variants", conducted by Dr. George W. Henry and sponsored by the "Committee for the Study of Sex Variants, Inc.", which Helen founded. In about 1927 (possibly earlier), Helen met Eleanor Byrnes and the two women became very close and moved in together at 225 W 34th Street, New York City. They traveled together to Mexico that year and on the ship manifest back to New York Eleanor gave her name as Eleanor Byrnes Reitman. By 1930 both women had changed their names to Jan and Zhenya Gay when they took another trip to London. Both women would keep the names through the rest of their lives. The same year Jan and Zhenya wrote an illustrated a children's book called "Pancho and His Burro". It would be the first of over 45 children's books that Zhenya would illustrate during her life. Jan, who was already well identified as a lesbian, may have already visited the Institute for Sex Study with Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin - probably with Zhenya in 1927 or 1930. Or she may have met Magnus during another trip that Jan and Zhenya took in 1931, sailing back from Bremen in September of that year.