New Video! The Great Ocean Grove Bathing Suit Controversy of the 1870s

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“Bathing dress censorship at Ocean Grove”, from the Illustrated Police News of London, England, circa 1877.

This image, titled “Bathing Dress Censorship at Ocean Grove”, is from the Illustrated Police News, one of Great Britain’s first tabloid newspapers. First published in 1864, it gained a reputation for sensationalism during the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888.

Yes, even as far afield as jolly ol’ England, people knew about the great bathing suit controversy raging in Ocean Grove, New Jersey in the 1870s.

So what was the fuss?

We made a video to tell you all about it. Watch and learn about “The Bathing Question”, as well as the Ocean Grove inventor who changed swimwear. Plus, hear about the 19th century visitors to OG who flouted ordinances against nudity and cross-dressing.

Dive in and play the video below!

Camera and editing: Mary Solecki

Research, writing and host: Kim Brittingham

Funding has been provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission.