Jamboree Trading Posts
1937 Boy Scout Red Book1937 Boy Scout Ad

The Jamboree Trading Posts were fully stocked with almost anything Scouts could want. Uniform parts, badges, neckerchiefs, equipment, etc. Food, ice cream or a cold drink. In addition there were dozens of souvenir items; pillow tops, pennants, utility boxes and paperweights a R-W-B neckerchief slide. I’m showing just a sampling, see the ‘37 Jamboree Souvenirs' at Bargain Prices.There are no “official” coins, belt loops, mugs, belt buckles or bolo ties from 1937.
1932 Official Souvenirs
unofficial 1937 souveniers

There were street vendors in Washington, selling unofficial souvenir’s.
This was an irritant to the BSA but the Jamboree was on public property.
1937 Boy Scout Jamboree Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting was a popular hobby during this era. Councils and individuals make First Day Covers that were mailed from the Jamboree.
Council Gateways
1937 Boy Scouts National Jamboree Council Gateways
Some councils had elaborate gateways into their camps, reflecting something of their home town or state. This started a tradition for future Jamboree’s. Councils often competed with neighboring councils, in their sub-camp to have the most unique gateway. The souvenir book has ten pages with photos of gateways.
Dignitaries Welcome
It was hoped that the Jamboree would show Scouting in a favorable way. Dignitaries and friends of Scouting were again invited with a special invitation. The luminaries of the nations capital turned out for the Scouts. J. Edgar Hoover greeted Scouts as they toured FBI headquarters. Contingents had their photo taken on the steps of Congress with members of the House and Senate. The Army and Navy Departments opened their doors to the scouts. Sea Scouts toured the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. What politician wouldn’t welcome the chance to greet 26,000 young men who would soon be voters.

Dignitaries at the 1937 Boy Scouts Jamboree

Franklin Roosevelt was President, he had been a strong supporter of Scouting. As Governor of New York he is credited with helping develop the NYC, Ten Mile River Camp. He was a friend of James E West, he was awarded the Silver Buffalo in 1930.

Leftover Material from 1937 Boy Scout National Jamboree

Like 1935 there was material left over after the Jamboree. The brochure above shows what was available.

1937 Boy Scout Historic Perspective
The 1935-1937 Jamboree - a historic perspective
1937 Boy Scout National Jamboree poster and postcard

The depression of the early 1930’s had improved but wasn’t over. 22,000 banks closed, over a million farmers lost their farms, veterans and Communists were marching on Washington. The labor movement was identified as radical for requesting better wages and working conditions. For the first time people were questioning if capitalism could work in the USA. Roosevelts administration was implementing changes, as fast as his advisors could develop them, but a large percentage of the population was hurting and for many the future seemed uncertain.

The 1920’s had been Golden Years for Scouting. Expansion in councils, camps, membership, etc. But, now if the local bank that financed the council office or camp went bankrupt, scouting properties were lost.

Scouting professionals were working for sporadic wages and summer camping suffered. Scouting had been serving boys from solidly middle class families. But now, some in the middle class, seeing their neighbors in desperate situations were losing confidence. Part of the theme of the Jamboree was to reassure confidence in parents, that things were going to be OK. Patriotic themes appeal to the sensibilities of citizens and scouting is training for citizenship.

Many of the Scouts marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1937 would be leading men, into North Africa, Sicily and France in just a few years.
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Paul Myers Goshen, Indiana