The proto-hippy nature boys of Southern California

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Hippies can be traced back to a late 19th century German naturmenschen countercultural movement that embraced nudity, paganism, and natural foods. (Gordon Kennedy wrote a good photo-filled book about the movement called Children of the Sun. Here’s an article he co-wrote with a lot of the same info and photos.)

The movement spread to California in the early 1900s, where a few young men grew long hair and beards and lived in primitive cabins in the Palm Springs area. The most famous of them was William Pester, the “Hermit of Palm Springs.” (Both photos of Pester shown here were taken in 1917.)

Over at Harp Guitars, Gregg Miner has written a lengthy and fascinating article about Pester and his influence on the “California Nature Boys” who lived in Los Angeles in the 1940s.

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