- A brief review of the Boy Pioneers - Continued -
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- Scouting for Boys by Baden Powell published 1908 - 
To determine if Baden Powell adapted anything from Seton or Beard it’s necessary to review his publication for boys. These were published in a serialized format. The booklets varied in size. They were published Fortnightly (every two weeks). All editions total 1228 pages. 
Baden Powell's Scouting for Boys Handbooks 
Volume 1, A Handbook For Instruction in Good Citizenship. - Scoutcraft and Scout Law, giving the duties of Boy Scouts, their secret signs, Laws, Badges. It also contains Scout War Songs, Patrol Signs, Camp Fire Yarns, Scouting Games and a Scout Play, (Pocahontas, the capture of Captain John Smith). 69 pages.

Volume 2, Tracking. - Details of people, using your eyes, how to teach observation, spooring (tracking), signs of deduction and how to teach it, games in stalking, animals, insects, reptiles and fishes. 142 pages.

Volume 3, Camp Life. - Pioneering, camping, cooking, camp games, judging distance, finding north, weather wisdom, signaling. 206 pages.

Volume 4, Endurance for Scouts & Chivalry for Scouts - games to develop strength, microbes and how to fight them, practice (exercises), Chivalry of the Knights, chivalry to others, obedience and discipline, courage, good temper and cheerfulness, duty to God, thrift and careers. 170 pages.

Volume 5, Saving Life and Patriotism - practice for life saving, fortitude, rescue from fire, from drowning, from run away horses, from mad dog, rendering first aid, how our empire grew, how it must be held, duties as a citizen soldier, our government, our army and navy, our flag, united we stand, divided we fall. 334 pages.

Volume 6, Notes to Instructors - bad citizenship, our future citizens, how to teach Scouting, Be Prepared, the clubhouse, woodcraft, saving life and first aid, true scouting stories, games and songs. 307 pages.

These booklets are written for English boys who would grow into Englishmen. The section on “how the empire must be held” is telling. I find no fault with this, it’s how things were in England in 1908. I’ve read articles by modern writers that claim English Scouting was militaristic, it’s too nationalist, it wasn’t serving the lower classes, etc. All of these criticisms are probably true judged by 2020 standard. But in 1908 the British Empire was the strongest alliance of countries in the world. The early program was developed for what was commonly known as “church boys”. Boys from middle class or above families that could afford scout uniforms, have funds for weekend outings and be able to afford summer camp. Baden Powell and other English leaders, all of which were volunteers and many were retired military men, were unapologetic about the emphasis on citizenship, patriotism and love of country. In the USA, Theodore Roosevelt and others were for “America First”, and for that matter the world was full of nationalist feelings, (hence WW I just eight years later). It’s a testament to Scouting that in later years, on both sides of the Atlantic, it would incorporate boys of all social classes and in the USA all races.

In 1910 Baden Powell condensed the six pamphlets into a single book, also titled Scouting for Boys. This book would undergo frequent revisions, much like the BSA Handbook and be used for a hundred years.

- James E. West the man who had a vision for the BSA - 
James E. WestWho is the founder or who had the idea first after a hundred years seems a mute point. I became interested in knowing if there was an individual who really made the difference. Who took Baden Powell’s ideas and Americanized them? Who translated them into what would become the BSA. My research has lead me to recognize James E. West.

When the short list of candidates was developed for the new Managing Director of the BSA, it’s claimed in Rowans book To Do My Best, James E. West that West’s name appeared at the top of three different list. West’s resume is partly listed in Murray’s The History of the BSA. At the age of six he was placed in an orphanage. While in the institution he became a leader of ninety boys and later a Junior Officer of the institution. He earned his way through High School and although physically handicap was manager of the football team and a leader in other school activities. He graduated from Law School at age twenty five. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the Board of Pension Appeals and he later became assistant attorney in the office of the Secretary of the Interior. He was very active in YMCA work and kept the Washington DC, YMCA running after a fire gutted it’s interior, which he later refitted without a cost to the organization. West organized a Citizens Committee and got Congress to give Washington DC a Juvenile Court. He promoted the Playground Association and lobbied Congress for funding. He organized and served as Secretary of the National Child Rescue League. It was through his personal interests that Theodore Roosevelt called the first White House Conference on the care of Dependent Children. Theodore Roosevelt counted West as a personal friend and warmly commended his leadership. He served as editor of Delineator Magazine in connection with children's welfare. Not mention is that he was finance chairman of the Boys Brigade and a Sunday School teacher of renown. He had tuberculous as a youth that left him with a bad hip. His youth in the orphanage was terrible, but instead of being downtrodden, it build a strong personality and fierce determination in young West. In 1911 his personality might have been his strongest attribute. He was dealing with men who were well respected in their fields, important and wealthy men. Each with ideas about what the fledging BSA should be. Should it be a movement and not a stand alone organization? Should it be an Indian group, glorifying the native Americans, or a pioneer frontiersman group. Should it be militaristic. There were Woodcraft Indians and Boy Pioneer groups active before the BSA, but there were also dozens if not hundreds of youth groups practicing Scouting using Baden Powell’s book. Some have suggested that W.D. Boyce and William Randolph Hearst wanted Boy Scouts to become newspaper boys. The American Boy Scouts (Hearst's group) was militaristic, marching and training with rifles. After one of it’s members accidently shot and killed a girl, the organization waned. The Boys Brigade was a large Christian organization started in England in 1883. Dan Beard and Theodore Roosevelt thought that all boys should have firearms training. Seton was a pacifist and did not believe in patriotism. It was into this cauldron that young West (age 34) would be thrown. The 1910 Managing Director, Alexander was a YMCA employee and anxious to return to the normalcy of the YMCA. It seems that West realized it would be in a difficult job. After refusing and reconsidering he accepted on a six month temporary basis. He started with the BSA on January 1th, 1911.

His first task was to make the BSA an American organization and develop a truly American handbook. The handbook thrown together by Seton was a combination of Baden Powell's English manual and copyrighted articles that Seton had written in previous publications. There was an outcry that Seton had chosen to identify the new BSA Handbook as the 9th Edition of his Woodcraft Indian book. It was to be the BSA’s handbook, not Seton’s. West took on Seton, West had a new thoroughly American handbook, with no author, available in 1911. Seton was placated with the title of Chief Scout. Although this upset Dan Beard. There was nothing of Seton or Beards organizations in the 1911 handbook. With a new Americanized Handbook, there was no question what Scouting in the USA would be.

West made two brilliant additions to the English Scout Law. He added Clean and Reverent. With these addition, Boy Scouting became more acceptable to churches. The YMCA had been a strong supporter of Scouting, they organized hundreds of troops. West realized that the unqualified support of this mainstream Protestant group might be hurting other religious groups from adopting Scouting. In a gentle way West sought to separate Scouting from the YMCA. The LDS (Mormon) Church adopted Scouting as their only youth group for boys in 1913. Also in 1913 the Roman Catholic Church dropped what had been strong objections to the BSA. The big question was should the BSA be a program within the framework of other organizations, or a stand alone program. This decision was probably what launched the BSA as a stand alone organization and severed the cooperation of the YMCA.

Although W.D. Boyce had filed for a Federal Charter in 1910, it was not granted. After Boyce split from Scouting, West continued to battle for federal recognition. The BSA was finally granted a Charter in 1916. West went after competitive groups using the name Boy Scouts or even Scouts. He sued companies that made knives, shoes, etc. for using the word Scout. If you are developing a national organization, you must control the use of your name. West’s law training proved a benefit to the BSA. West even fought the Girl Scouts for using the name Scouts. There was animosity between the BSA and the GSA for years. It’s curious that West never went after the Lone Scouts, I believe there was some quid pro quo, between the BSA and Boyce. In 1911 a patent for the new “American Eagle” design badges and the revised American Scout Oath was issued in West’s name. West didn’t design the insignia, yet his name was on the patent.

West was responsible for the idea of scouting professionals. This caused a rift with the English organization which was volunteer run. West believed that every organization need a paid, trained Scouting professional, guiding a Council Board. This would assure continuity of program and help scouting grow. In November, 1911 West ceased being the Managing Director and became Chief Scout Executive. In addition to the new title he received a 20% increase in his salary. It’s a huge step from being the Managing Director (of operating committees) to the Chief Scout Executive. The BSA was continually short of funds, yet West was given a twenty percent pay raise. In later years its been claimed that West stacked the Board with businessmen, and executive types that he might bend to his will. But in 1911, the National Executive Board was comprised of the men who had been the organizers and founders.

West made so many important decisions in the early years. The organization was being pulled in many directions. In 1912 during a tour of the USA, Baden Powell remarked that the BSA needed better communications with the field. As a result, West bought Boys Life Magazine from George Barton of Somerset, MA for the price of $1 PER subscription. $6,000, a princely sum in this era. Seton tried to exert his influence and was against Boys Life accepting ad’s for chewing gum.

Boy Scout PlanWest recognized the importance of having famous men endorse Scouting. President Taft and Woodrow Wilson accepted the Honorary Presidency and every U.S. President since has accepted the title. Men known to boys, like Seton and Beard also lent prestige. The men who developed the merit badges were all well known, famous individuals in their fields.

The early BSA was charged with being a militaristic organization. The American Boy Scouts marched with guns, not the BSA. Immigrant groups thought that boys in uniforms were training for the military. Labor groups disparaged the BSA because the 1910 (Setons English version) handbook stated that Loyalty meant a boy was loyal to his employer. The 1911 BSA handbook didn’t have that wording but the criticism stuck. Baden Powell and West were booed off the stage in Portland, Oregon in 1912 by union sympathizers.

Under West’s leadership a system of registration was instituted. The BSA issued leader certificates and rank advancement but had no way of knowing how many scouts there were. Registration (10/1913) made it possible to count scouts. Scouts paid .25 dues that helped fund the growing organization. West established a BSA supply department to sell insignia, uniforms and licensed BSA products. A scout might pay extra for an official knife or canteen with the BSA logo on it, this additional revenue helped finance scouting.

The BSA was constantly short of funds. It operated at a deficit for a couple of years but the Executive Board passed rules forbidding deficit spending. In the History of the BSA, West is praised for leadership in fund raising. He was constantly seeking and receiving donations and grants for special projects; interracial scouting, the Cub Program, support of Boys Life. The Schiff family donated a vacation estate in New Jersey.

In 1928, West received an Honorary Doctorate from the Kalamazoo College. The same year he received an honorary Masters of Humanity degree from Springfield College. West preferred the Doctorate Degree. Afterwards he was thereafter known as Dr. James E West.

In To Do My Best, Rowan states that West was a racist. I recommend Dr. Rowan’s book. But, I disagree with his statement, although it’s common to make judgements about history based on modern standards. 1911 was a different era and West was trying to placate so many factions. People from northeastern states argued for total racial integration of the BSA. There is evidence that when West developed theEagle Scout Playground League in Washington, DC and other youth protective groups he favored integration of the races in Washington DC. In May, 1901 President Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington the most famous African American to dinner at the White House. Roosevelt was viciously attacked in the southern press and had to yield to the pressure. He had a progressive agenda that would benefit all Americans and needed votes in the south. The same type of thing happened to Franklin Roosevelt, thirty years later. As President, Franklin Roosevelt wanted to do more for African Americans but again he needed southern votes. If West was a racist, so too was every President from Theodore Roosevelt to Kennedy. It’s unfair to judge men in history by modern standards. In his 1939 autobiography, Beard refers to African Americans by the N word. Seton describes Mexican Americans in New Mexico as greasers. Greasers was a racial slur in the early 1900’s. West was trying to create a national organization, his model may have been the YMCA. The YMCA had “Colored” organizations shortly after the civil war. It wasn’t until 1946 that the YMCA Executive Board voted to integrate and it wasn’t totally accomplished until the 1970’s. West’s solution was that integration of the races should be left to the local councils and adhere to local customs. This seems the only practical solution. Hundreds of thousands of white boys and tens of thousands of African American boys in the south would enjoy the benefits of Scouting. Scout troops in New England and New York were integrated, and even had Eagle Scouts in the Time Magazineearliest years. In the south and in cities like Chicago, African Americans were separate but equal, years before that slogan was used. Chicago had a beautiful camp for African Americans scouts in 1924. The Louisville, KY. council was a leader in African American Scouting. They had dozens of African American troops and a beautiful camp as early as 1926. In the modern age consider how much trouble the BSA could have avoided if the Gay issue had been left to the local councils. There was prejudice against Jews. Yet, Mortimer Schiff, a man of Jewish heritage was the National President of the BSA, (1931)and scouting was popular in the Jewish community.

In later years West seems to become a tyrant, but in 1911 and for many years afterwards, he was the man who build the BSA. He seemed always to make the right decision. He insisted on event insurance for the 1935 Jamboree, some thought insurance a waste of money. But when the Jamboree was canceled, insurance paid all the bills and saved the BSA from bankruptcy. I can’t help but wonder what Beard and Seton must have thought, seeing West on the cover of Time Magazine.


 
- After Words - 
After comparing Setons and Beards books I was struck by the difference. Seton glorifies the Indians and Beard the frontiersmen, the Indian fighters. Setons group has scalps, Beards group throws tomahawks and carries a bowie knife or tomahawk in their belt. S D B had a Kentucky long rifle on display in their meeting room. Seton had a little book with a big Constitution in 1906. Beard published in 1909 after Scouting for Boys was already in circulation and except for some outdoor tips, how to build a fire or a lean to, etc. the books and programs are totally different. After studying both the Boy Pioneers and The Woodcraft Indians I see nothing that would lead me to say Baden Powell copied from either. Scouting is Citizenship and Character Building. Beard was strong on these principals but Seton was opposed to patriotism. The theme of camping and boy doing things in the woods is universal. Scouting has a broader appeal than frontiersmen and Indians. I can see objections to boys carrying “scalps” or boys throwing tomahawk and carrying a Bowie knife. Many parents already thought of their boys as wild Indians.

Womans Home CampanionThe difficulty of communications would handicap any group trying to get organized. Beard first published in a men's outdoors magazine (Recreation). He later moved to a women’s magazine and later Pictorial Review. Seton started in a women’s magazine. Baden Powell published the first serialized edition of Scouting for Boys in six installments, January to March, 1908. The first USA group to develop a handbook would have an advantage over the other competing groups. I’ve been critical of Seton’s handbook, but it was a handbook. Almost as important was the 1911 BSA organizational pamphlet of which The Minute Tapioca Co. distributed 500,000 copies. It explained what USA Scouting was. With prominent men endorsing Scouting and the President of the USA as Honorary President of the BSA, the new organization would surpass competing groups.

Beard, Powell, Seton and even Boyce are similar; outdoorsmen, illustrators and authors. Seton seems the best writer and artist, but all men had talent. Baden Powell was a national hero after his exploits in Africa, while Beard and Seton were well known, important men in NYC and the USA. Boyce was a wealthy benefactor. I found Beard to be an opportunist. Seton seems to be a proud and arrogant man. I can’t explain why Boyce incorporated and sought a Federal Charter for an organization without a plan to implement it. West is strong willed and ultimately became a dictator. In a large organization where Scoutmasters or Council Executives are trying to make Scouting in their image, perhaps a kinder-gentler Chief Scout Executive might have failed. Of all the groups organizing to serve boys between 1906 and 1911, only Scouting has survived.

Roosevelt in CampFire Club OutfitTheodore Roosevelt seems to be in the background of the founding. He was a Camp Fire Club member with Beard and Seton. Seton was occasionally invited to Sagamore Hill to tell Indian stories. During Baden Powell visit in 1910 he remarked to Beard that he had met all the famous men in the USA but didn’t meet the most famous. The next day Powell and Beard went to Sagamore Hill to meet Roosevelt. Although Seton or West might have been able to arrange the same meeting. James West petitioned President Roosevelt to hold a youth conference in the White House. Roosevelt originally denied the request. West told Roosevelt, that if you could have a conference on animals (Conservation), certainly a conference on the plight of youth would be important. West had his conference and Roosevelt was moved by what he learned. He praised West and they became friends. West was also friends with Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and President Franklin Roosevelt. It’s my opinion, that the US government supported Scouting. The first Jamboree was on government property in Washington, DC. The military served as support staff at Jamborees and helped Scouting with big projects. Scouting used Fort A. P. Hill until the political outcry from scouting's enemies made it difficult. In the past a group advocating Citizenship and Character Building would have been looked upon favorably by the US government, somehow today that seems to have changed.
 
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Paul Myers Goshen, Indiana
gimogash@comcast.net