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Club activities—events like bowling dates, costume parties, panel discussions, and support groups—were for socializing only, and members were supposed to swap partners and have sex on their own time.

(“We wanted the club to operate on a high plane—first class always,” a founder reminisced.) The founders hoped that members could quietly recognize each other in public by displaying the jewelry that gave the club its name. “Our efforts to find a manufacturer at a reasonable cost have been fruitless,” ended the dream.

In the early 1990s, the records were found in a safe deposit box at First Bloomington Lake National Bank, and the papers made their way to the state’s historical agency via a Minnesota law that gives the Society first claim to abandoned historic materials.

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One local swinger, in an interview with the , somewhat unsexily compared swinging to being a Mason. Another member published in the Silver Chain newsletter a “swingers creed” that promoted tolerance for the hang-ups of others and an exaltation of the emotional involvement “properly reserved for a spouse.”Despite (or maybe because of) such high-minded sentiments, actually getting down to the business of swinging sometimes proved a problem.

The Executive Committee pleaded with members to quiet down and pay attention at events during the reading of announcements.

Silver Chain members believed that their tight group placed them at the vanguard of people seeking connection at the dawning of a new age of sexual freedom, when recognizing and giving in to personal fantasies could lead to less distrust and frustration in marriage.

And Silver Chain surveys, though unscientific, supported the belief that swinging was good for marriage.

One Silver Chainer complained in the newsletter that sex too infrequently followed the partying.

At one event, members tried to break the impasse by stripping others of their clothing.

Surely there was a way to meet more people like them close to home. They didn’t yet suspect what it would be like to herd swingers and guard their privacy.

The group they started, the Silver Chain Social Club, brought to life the hopeful vision of its eight founders, along with a grave concern for the secrecy of its conventional-seeming, suburban members.

Even though not everyone was completely naked and some hadn’t disrobed at all, it helped.

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