- Ernest Thompson Seton 1860-1946 - Continued -
In 1910 there was an urgent need to develop a handbook. There were competing groups and it was believed that having an American handbook would help establish the BSA as the legitimate heir to Baden Powell's Scouting. Seton was selected to write the handbook. Dan Beard claimed that he had been asked but had to refuse because he needed income, (this claim is unsubstantiated). Seton combined parts of Baden Powell's Scouting for Boys and included copyrighted “how to” material from some of his writing. The handbook proved to be unsatisfactory, but it was a handbook.
Early English Scouts Handbooks
The cover was similar to the English Handbook. The Scout Oath or Law are English, modified dropping King or Queen. Uniforms shown are of the English style. In the Preface, Seton takes credit for the founding. “The Scoutcraft movement that I aimed to foster, started 10 years ago”. Seton copyrighted the manual and stated that it was the 9th edition of his Woodcraft book. It’s believed that Seton arranged printing at his publisher, Doubleday and not all of the profits found their way to the BSA. But the new BSA wasn’t Seton’s. The new handbook had nothing to do with The Woodcraft Indians. It was to be a handbook for the new B.S.A. It seemed that Seton was making a grab for the glory and maybe the money. There was nothing in the new B.S.A. Handbook that was remotely similar to Seton’s programs for boys.

It further infuriated people that Seton claimed copyright on things of common knowledge; how to build a camp fire, a lean to, how to measure distance, etc. There is nothing in the book about patriotism or citizenship although there are two pages about our flag. Baden Powell’s English book is loaded with citizenship and patriotism, but Seton didn’t believe in it, and there was nothing in the 1910 printing about it. This was a problem.

In 1910 John Alexander was the Managing Director of the BSA. He was on the YMCA payroll, working in NYC, YMCA Headquarters. The task fell to him to better explain what American Boy Scouting is and get something on the record that the BSA stood for patriotism and citizenship. Alexander developed a 54 page informational booklet that made up for some of the deficiencies in Seton’s book. In a brilliant move Alexander convinced the Minute Tapioca Co. to print and distribute 500,000 copies of the booklet.
1911 Tapioca Scouting Booklet

Alexander developed the pamphlet sometime in the fall of 1910. He left the BSA at the end of December to return to YMCA work. The booklet was available in January of 1911.

I’ve owned one of these booklets for years. It wasn’t until I began this research that I read it. It appears that in the fall of 1910, the YMCA had a different plans for what the BSA would ultimately become.

Complete Page shown on page 2

- The 1911 Boy Scout Handbook, the start of American Scouting -
1911 Boy Scout Handbook

The 1911 BSA Handbook contains the new American Boy Scout program. It has the new Americanized Oath and Law, with Clean and Reverent added. It has 56 American merit badges each developed by an expert in that field. It has the new BSA uniform, the new eagle design badges replace the English fleur de leis. It has rank and insignia as well as organization structure. It’s a real how to book with more information on camping and the outdoors but without copyrights. The new 1911 handbook is remarkable for the fact that it was compiled in such a short time. To develop the merit badges, finalize the Oath and Law, design the uniforms and insignia in a period of about six months, without copying anything from others, seem astonishing. The 1911 handbook has thirty six pages on citizenship and patriotism. I’ve come to believe the driving force behind the 1911 handbook was probably James E. West, but my research cannot prove it.
Modified BSA Law

The English Scout Law had only 9 points. The BSA law was modified with Brave, Clean and Reverent added. Reverent opened the doors of religious institutions as sponsors. Clean addressed what many people thought was the moral collapse of youth in 1911. “A Scout travels with a clean crowd”.
American Eagle Bot Scout Badge

The new stylized American eagle design badge which the BSA would use for 100 years. The patent is in James West name.
1910 Boy Scouts Uniform

New design “American” uniforms, different from the English style shown in the 1910 handbook. New rank and insignia in different position than the English badges. Insignia and positions that would last for a hundred years.
1910 A Scout is Loyal to the President and his officers, and
to his parents, his country and his employer. He must stick
with them through thick and thin against anyone who is their
enemy or who talks bad about them (the word President is
substituted for King
Loyalty to employers caused trouble with union families.

1911 A Scout is Loyal. He is loyal to all whom loyalty is due:
his scout leaders, his home and his parents. NO EMPLOYERS
1910 The (English) Oath I give my word of honor, that I will do my best to do my duty to God and country. To help other people at all times, to obey the scout law.
1911 The Oath, On my honor I will do my best: To do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the scout law. To Help other people at all times. To keep myself physically strong, mentally aware and morally straight.

There are dozens of illustrations and even a few photographs of how to themes, for nature, no longer called Woodcraft. Scout activities and camping tips like making a campfire, a lean to, etc. Nothing in the book is individually copyrighted. The book was designed, written and illustrated by the BSA.

In his biography Seton writes; that by the age of forty (1910) I had accumulated enough wealth to comfortably retire. I was the premier naturalist and animal artist in the world. I was elected to membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters. My work in science had received the Elliott Gold Medal from the Institute of Art, the gold medal from the National Institute of Science, (the Burroughs medal), and the Gold medal from the Campfire Club. I have a commodious house on 150 acres of beautiful forests and streams. A natural history museum and library, at my home, that is proclaimed without peer in the USA. All of the individuals involved in the founding of the BSA were distinguished men. One can imagine the clash of ego’s. Baden Powell is usually described as a kindly gentleman, and he may well have been. But he was an active duty Colonel in the British Army in Africa, promoted to General when he retired. I suspect Powell’s ego was as big as any of the USA organizers and being a military man he was used to having his orders followed. He must have had a reaction to Seton claiming to have founded the organization, but it’s unknown. Powell’s name was removed from the second printing of the 1910 edition.

For all of his attributes, Seton had traits that would put him in conflict with the other organizers of the BSA. Seton didn’t profess allegiance of any country. He was born in England, but always mentioned his Scottish heritage. Raised in Canada, educated in England and France, relocated to the USA. The era was one of fierce nationalism and his lack of loyalty would become a problem. Other founders of the BSA, Daniel Beard, Theodore Roosevelt and others were hyper nationalists. Seton disagreed with the BSA teaching patriotism. Seton was against competition. In the Woodcraft movement there is no competition between boys. Competition in this era was very much a part of America boyhood, besting the other fellow in good, clean competition. Seton was an outspoken critic of organized religion. James West had firm religious conviction and as a Preface in 1910 Boy Scouts Handbookyoung man in Washington, DC was a Sunday School teacher of renown. In this era religion played an important role in everyday life. After West added the 11th and 12th point to the Scout Law, (a Scout is Clean and Reverent), Seton was again out of step, he was on record as being against religion. Seton’s wife was a militant supporter of Women's Rights, a Suffragette. Today that seem an attribute but in 1912, Woodrow Wilson was elected President of the USA and would become Honorary President and a supporter of the BSA. He was a stringent opponent of women's suffrage and it was generally unpopular. Seton would be out of the BSA by 1915 and there were reasons why, none of which were widely publicized. He remained popular with boys and he expanded his Woodcraft Indians program.

Beginning this research I had a fondness for Seton. It’s easy to assume that a man who can write so beautiful is a wonderful human being.

But facts uncovered during research are stubborn things. Seton’s attempts to say that the Boy Scout movement was his and it was clearly not. He was a prominent man but seems to want to claim something that was not his. His name lent credibility to the fledgling organization, but the BSA was not his organization.

His Preface in the 1910 Handbook infuriated people. Seton was at the height of his fame and popularity but his ego and claim that the BSA was his organization had to be dealt with.

- Daniel Carter Beard 1850-1941 -
Daniel Carter BeardBeard is acknowledged as one of the founders of the BSA. He was an editor and contributor to Boys Life. A successful illustrator and author. An important man in the New York City art and literary community. In old age Beard seemed to adopt a homespun “uncle” Dan persona with his buckskin-frontiersman outfit and wearing all of his awards on his scout uniform, but there is much more to the man.

Beard was born in 1850 into a prominent family in Cincinnati, OH. Later the family moved across the river to Covington, KY. Beard had three bothers and two sisters. Beard seemed to foster the notion that his childhood was full of hardships, deprivation and adventure in the wilds of Kentucky. But his autobiography tells that his family had refinement and wealth. His father, James Henry Beard, was a prominent artist, famous people visited the Beard’s home for portraits. A relative was Governor of Ohio. The Beard family had servants and Dan was free from the chores that many boys of his generation had to perform. It seems true that he had adventures as a youth, but most were not more than a few miles from Covington. Beard was educated as a Civil Engineer, his father discouraged him and his brothers from becoming artists. He said that the income of an artist was too uncertain. Brother Frank received a law degree and Harry had an executive position with a railroad. Daniel was employed by insurance companies to survey and measure property. He longed for travel and this job afforded him the opportunity. For two years he lead a nomads life traveling constantly, living out of a suitcase, an experience he said he thoroughly enjoyed.
Daniel Beard
In 1878 the family moved to Flushing, Queens, a borough of New York City.There was more opportunity for an artist of James Beards stature in NYC. His other two sons had moved to NYC. Brother Frank had established himself as an illustrator. Dan visited the flourishing studio with his drawing of a fish. A publisher saw the drawing and used it. Dan received $25 for it. His days as a traveling surveyor for $5 a week were over. His brother Harry would join the studio and become famous for his technique of “chalk talk”. Delivering a lecture he would illustrate points with chalk on a blackboard. Dan flourished during these years. He had delightful friends, many of which would later become distinguished citizens. If his youth in Kentucky was an exciting adventure, these years living at home, as a young man with a good income were wonderful. Beard and friends enjoyed camping, hiking, swimming, sailing and ice skating. He traveled extensive, he claimed to have fished in both the Atlantic and Pacific and most major rivers in-between. He camped and hiked with famous men and young men, his age who would become famous.

Beard worked days as an illustrator with success coming quickly. He attended classes at night at the Art Students League. He was a contemporary of students who would become famous artists. In 1889 Beard illustrated Mark Twain’s, best seller, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court, he was at the peak of his fame. Offers of employment came from prestigious firms, but Beard valued his freedom and remained a free lance artist. He said he couldn’t be employed full time because he vacationed a couple months a year. The Beard family was comfortable but it seems that he always had to work. He later claimed that he had to refuse authorship of the new Boy Scout Handbook because he had work and needed income.

Beard worked primary as an illustrator, but he was an accomplished water color artist. The difference between an illustrator and an artist is that an illustrator usually develops drawings without models. Illustrators call on memory of places, faces or things. Artists employ models andDaniel Carter Beard painstakingly get every detail right. Dan Beard illustrated The Connecticut in King Arthurs Court in just three weeks. When Mark Twain saw the illustrations, he didn’t change a single one. Beard and Mark Twain, (Samuel Clemens), became friends. In his autobiography Beard states that one of the benefits of age was that one could dress as one pleased. It was a comment on Clemens habit of wearing white flannel suits. But Beard might have been writing about himself with his buckskins outfits and all his awards on his scout uniform.

Beard was a prominent citizen of New York City. A founding member of the NYC Campfire Club, an organization of explorers, adventurers, outdoorsmen and later conservationists. His famous buckskin outfit was developed for participation in the Campfire Club. He was a member of the NYC Adeline Club which was for men in journalism; authors, publishers, newspapermen. He was a member of the Ohio Society of NYC. Its members included Presidents, US Senators, former Ohio Governors, Admirals and Generals (Sherman) and other prominent people who were from the state of Ohio. The group was known for its extravagant banquets, Beard was Toastmaster on occasion. He was the Chairman of the Flushing Flat Tax Society and friend of the pioneering Economist and philosopher Henry George.

Rosevelt BadgeHe married the daughter, Adeline Alice Jackson, of a successful NYC businessman. They enjoyed an active life among New York society. He had a gregarious personality and was popular as a Master of Ceremonies, and public speaker. He knew everyone of importance among them; Theodore Roosevelt, who he first met when Roosevelt was NYC, Police Chief. Mark Twain, Dr. William Hornaday, General Sherman, and dozens of others who names modern readers might not recognize but who were prominent individuals of national fame. Later, Beard was a friend of Theo. Roosevelt, Jr. After Teddy (Sr) passed away, Beard lead an annual pilgrimage to Sagamore Hill/Oyster Bay, Roosevelts home. Beard said that he counted Mark Twin and Roosevelt among his closest friends.

Beard was a Free Mason. Active in Masonic work both in New York City and his home in Flushing. In 1910 he would be just the type of individual you would want to help launch a new youth organization. He was well known, influential and incredibly well connected with important people.

William T. Hornday AwardBeard became a pioneering conservationists. This was a controversial idea at the time. Images of early hunting parties show dozens of animals and sometimes hundreds of dead birds. Watermen on the Chesapeake Bay used huge guns, almost small cannons that could kill 20-30 ducks or geese with one shot. Theodore Roosevelt lived in the badlands of South Dakota after the deaths of his wife and mother. When he returned years later he discovered that the pronghorn antelope that he had loved to hunt were gone. He reported this to the men of the Campfire Club and many embraced conservation. Dr. William Hornaday, a member of the club, was referred to in the press as a radical conservationists. Beard was criticized while editor of Recreation Magazine for running an image of a hunting party laden down with game. He labeled them, Game Hogs. It wasn’t very long ago that people had been slaughtering buffalo from passing trains as sport. In this era boys often shot birds for target practice. Conservation was not a widely accepted idea. In parts of the country hunting was putting food on the table. But Beard and others who were avid outdoorsmen and hunters began advocating for conservation. Their motto became; Take what you need but leave something for others. As President, Theo. Roosevelt enacted conservation measures and it spread as an accepted practice. The new BSA had a merit badge for Conservation in 1911.

Paul Myers Goshen, Indiana