seton

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W. D. Boyce

William D. Boyce was an American businessman and millionaire who owned numerous newspapers in the United States and Canada as well as a publishing company. In the early 1900s, he started to focus more on philanthropic projects than on business matters. It was during this time, as he was traveling around the world, that legend has it he was shown his way in London by an unknown Scout. The story goes on that the Scout refused gratuity, merely doing his duty as a Scout. The Scout is said to have then directed Boyce to the Scout headquarters.

First BSA Handbook

The Official Handbook: A Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life-craft (now known as the 1910 Original Edition Handbook) was written by Ernest Thompson Seton and was influenced significantly by Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys (Baden-Powell’s book was based heavily off of Seton’s handbook for his youth group The Woodcraft Indians, The Birch Bark Roll.) This version was published from July 1910 to March 1911.

Woodcraft Indians

It would help bring together young people from various so-called stations, break down the barriers that society has foolishly placed upon them, and establish in their minds when they are young a finer kind of humanity, a real understanding that the important thing is the association of a human spirit.

--- from Ernest Thompson Seton about his development of the League of Woodcraft Indians

Edson Influenced

In 1915 I joined the staff of the Philadelphia Council, the head of the Field Department being E. Urner Goodman, afterwards Scout Executive of Philadelphia, and then of Chicago, and now a department head at the National Office.

Urner was designated as Director, and I as Co-Director of Treasure Island, the Philadelphia Camp. I found they had an award called “Treasure Island Scout”, for which an emblem TIS, was presented. The award was based on a point system, similar to a troop contest, so many points for passing tests, identifying nature objects, etc., etc. It seemed to me there should be some recognition of the spirit of Scouting, as the TIS was of the mechanics.

BSA Founded

In 1909, Chicago publisher William D. Boyce was visiting London, and as legend has it, lost his way in a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a Scout he would not take a tip for doing a Good Turn. It is known that Boyce was assisted by a Scout and found his way to the Scout headquarters where he bought a copy of “Scouting for Boys”. This gesture by an unknown Scout inspired the philanthropic Boyce to help finance the start-up of the BSA.

Ernest Thompson Seton

Ernest Thompson Seton was a Canadian naturalist, writer, and artist. He became very interested in studying wolves while working in Canada. Those experiences later became the basis for a number of animal fiction stories by Seton. Following his time in Canada, Seton moved to New York. When some local kids damaged some of his property, he invited them over for a weekend and taught them stories about nature and American Indians (as opposed to punishing them).

Daniel Carter Beard

Daniel Carter Beard, known to many in Scouts as “Uncle Dan” Beard, was an American illustrator and author. He illustrated several books for the famous author Mark Twain. He wrote numerous articles for St. Nicholas Magazine that he later put together as The American Boys Handy Book. He was a good friend with Ernest Thompson Seton, future Chief Scout of the BSA.

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