Boy Scout & Scout Masters Handbooks on Google Books

Thursday, 10 Dec 2009 | by Mark Tucker


Today is the official kickoff audiocast to start the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Boy Scouts of America was organized in 1910 and within the first few years two key handbooks were created:

In doing some research on Scouting history, I decided to check out Google Books to see if it hand any early Scout texts.  I was pleased to find fully scanned images of the handbooks.  It is at the troop level that Scouting happens and the two main roles are the Scout Master and the boy Scouts.


The Official Handbook for Boys

The purpose of this handbook as stated in its preface:

In order that the work of the boy scouts throughout America may be uniform and intelligent, the National Council has prepared its “Official Handbook, ” the purpose of which is to furnish the patrols of the boy scouts advice in practical methods, as well as inspiring information.

The copy on Google Books is copyright 1911:


In its chapters, this handbook instructs the boy in the various topics important to the Scout which includes:

  • Scoutcraft
  • Woodcraft
  • Campcraft
  • Tracks, Trailing, and Signaling
  • Health and Endurance
  • Chivalry
  • First Aid and Life Saving
  • Games and Athletic Standards
  • Patriotism and Citizenship



Handbook for Scout Masters


The book’s introduction states about the handbook:

It goes into the hands of the Scout Masters with the sincere hope that it will help them in maintaining the interest of their troops and in directing their activities along right lines.

Google Books has a first edition with copyright dates of 1913 and 1914:


This handbook describes the organization of Scouting at the national, local, and troop levels.  It goes over scout requirements as a supplement to The Official Handbook for Boys, and has detailed suggestions for meeting programs.


Both of these handbooks will better help us understand the organization and teachings of the Boy Scouts of America.  Maybe one of your ancestors was a Boy Scout or a Scout Master.  I would love to hear from you stories about your Scouting ancestors.

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