SCOUTS: National Jamboree

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When he was of Boy Scout age the Civil War was going on and Dan Beard lived along the Ohio River, where he saw some fighting. Afterwards he became a civil engineer, a surveyor of maps, then drifted to Manhattan, studied at the Art Students' League with Charles Dana Gibson and drifted into illustrating. It was 55 years ago that Illustrator Beard wrote and illustrated an article for St. Nicholas called "How to Camp Without a Tent." This was expanded into The American Boys' Handy Book which subsequently sold upwards of 250,000 copies to boys who wanted to do all sorts of things that a Scout today learns. But for almost another generation Dan Beard continued as illustrator and author of boys' books,*and it was not until he was 55 and editor of the magazine Recreation, that in casting around for a circulation stunt he stirred up the beginnings of the American Scout-movement. He founded in his columns The Boy Pioneers, Sons of Daniel Boone. The name Boy Scouts came later, from overseas. During the Boer War, General Robert Baden-Powell perfected a course in scout training to teach 'the little Cockney recruits who were sent out to him how to be of some use in Africa's wilds. Later he went back to England and adapted it to training city-bred boys. General Baden-Powell, who was made an Earl for his good work and who, like Dan Beard, is still spry at 80 and exercises by touching his toes, gave more than a name to scouting. His British Scout oath and Scout laws were the basis around which the Boy Scouts of America were founded in 1910. When formed it was a merger between several U. S. organizations including Dan Beard's Sons of Daniel Boone and the Woodcraft Indians started by Naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton. The name Boy Scouts of America was incorporated by the late William D. Boyce of Chicago, publisher of the oldtime Saturday Blade (for farmers) and Ranger (for boys) to whom a British Boy Scout had done a good turn in a London fog. Also in on the founding were the Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., the U. S. Army Medical Corps, Theodore Roosevelt's Outlook, the Russell Sage Foundation, and such assorted characters as Lincoln Steffens, Mortimer L. Schiff, Admiral Dewey, John Wanamaker, Leonard Wood. But right from the start the most important figure was a young Washington attorney named James E. West, hired as executive to put the young organization on its feet. James West was no Boy Scout in his youth. He was an orphan and in his boyhood he developed tuberculosis of the hip & knee so that he was an unwelcome inmate at Washington institutions. Over immense handicaps he got himself an education and became a lawyer. Interested in the Y.M.C.A., he was attending a settlement house meeting one evening when his one-lunged automobile disappeared. He found it at the foot of the hill along with a policeman and a badly scared boy. Summoned to court as a complaining witness he acted instead as the boy's attorney, got him off from a charge of operating without a license. Then he went to President Theodore Roosevelt and demanded that a Juvenile Court be created for the District of Columbia. Thereafter T. R. was one of his backers.

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