Story of the Boy Scouts

Boy Scouts coverStory of the Boy Scouts

Submitter: Quaint Hardy Boys style illustrations and historical black and white photos accompany this book  about the history of the Boy Scouts. While there are a few pictures of African American children and a boy  with a turban on the cover, included also are some stories about the boys “howling like Indians” and “playing Indian” as they set up camp. One boy is described as a “cripple” who doesn’t look like “a man to lead” and grew up having to work with the girls in the sewing room rather than be outdoors with the boys. It’s a  snapshot of the times, but there’s a lot that has happened in the 50+ years that have passed since this book was published. The kids in our library need more up to date info on scouting, and more culturally sensitive language. Girls can now join the Boy Scouts in their activities, and are no longer confined to the sewing room.

Holly: WorldCat’s description of this book says: “Discusses the origin and continuing growth of the Boy Scouts, relates true stories of Scouting heroism and adventure, and describes the many activities of Scouting.” I’m all for a history of the Boy Scouts, but respectful language is a must. Kids interested in scouting activities can definitely do better than this!

Boy Scouts howling like indians

Boy Scouts indian fashion

Boy Scouts cripple


  1. The illustration of “Seton” on page 25 – I’m sorry about this – made me laugh at how it makes look, like he’s got an idea how to sell granny some worthless mining shares.

    1. That would be Ernest Thompson Seton, by the way. According to Seton’s Wikipedia entry, his father was a real charmer:

      Seton called his father, Joseph Logan Thompson, “the most selfish man I ever knew, or heard of, in history or in fiction.” He cut off ties completely after being made to pay off an itemized list of all expenses he had cost his father, up to and including the doctor’s fee for his delivery, a total of $537.50.

      “Futility Closet” has a more detailed account:

  2. I’m glad the boys sitting in the wooden boats aren’t naked, for their sake.

    Terrible descriptions aside, James West sounds like a good role model, one who *should* be leading boys. I read his Wiki entry, and he accomplished a lot in his life.

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