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The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on February 8, 1910, under the laws of the District of Columbia, by W. D. Boyce. On June 21, 1910, 34 national representatives of boys’ work agencies met to establish the Boy Scouts of America.

The Founding Board of Directors

Honorary president

President William Howard Taft

Honorary vice president and Chief Scout Citizen

Former President Theodore Roosevelt


Colin H. Livingstone

Vice presidents

Mortimer L. Schiff
Milton A. McRae
Benjamin L. Dulaney


George D. Pratt

National Scout commissioner

Daniel Carter Beard

Chief Scout

Ernest Thompson Seton

Chief Scout Executive

James E. West

Executive Board members

John Sherman Hoyt
Jeremiah W. Jenks
William D. Murray
Frank Presbrey

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
Lieutenant general, British Army; known as Lord Baden-Powell, B-P
b. February 22, 1857, Paddington, London, England
d. January 8, 1941, Nyeri, Kenya

As a youth, Robert Baden-Powell greatly enjoyed the outdoors, learning about nature and how to live in the wilderness. After returning as a military hero from service in Africa, Baden-Powell discovered that English boys were reading the manual on stalking and survival in the wilderness he had written for British soldiers. Gathering ideas from Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, and others, he rewrote the manual as a nonmilitary nature skills book and called it Scouting for Boys. To test his ideas, Baden-Powell brought together 22 boys to camp at Brownsea Island, off the coast of England.

This historic campout was a success and resulted in the advent of Scouting. Thus, the imagination and inspiration of Baden-Powell, later proclaimed Chief Scout of the World, brought Scouting to youth the world over.

William D. Boyce
Newspaper man, entrepreneur, magazine publisher, explorer
b. June 16, 1858, Plum Township, Pennsylvania
d. June 11, 1929; resting place Ottawa, Illinois

In 1909, Chicago publisher William D. Boyce lost his way in a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a Scout he would not take a tip for doing a Good Turn. This gesture by an unknown Scout inspired a meeting with Robert Baden-Powell, the British founder of the Boy Scouts. As a result, William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. He also created the Lone Scouts, which merged with the Boy Scouts of America in 1924.

Daniel Carter Beard
Illustrator, author, youth leader, social reformer; known as Uncle Dan
b. June 21, 1850, Cincinnati, Ohio
d. June 11, 1941, Suffern, New York
Woodsman, illustrator, and naturalist, Daniel Carter Beard was a pioneering spirit of the Boy Scouts of America. Already 60 years old when the Boy Scouts of America was formed, he became a founder and merged it with his own boys’ organization, the Sons of Daniel Boone. As the first national Scout commissioner, Beard helped design the original Scout uniform and introduced the elements of the First Class Scout badge. “Uncle Dan,” as he was known to boys and leaders, is remembered as a colorful figure dressed in buckskin who helped form Scouting in the United States.

Ernest Thompson Seton
Author, wildlife artist; a Scots-Canadian and naturalized U.S. citizen
b. August 14, 1860, South Shields, England
d. October 23, 1946, Seton Village, New Mexico

Ernest Thompson Seton immigrated to America as a youth in the 1880s. His fascination with the wilderness led him to become a naturalist, an artist, and an author, and through his works, he influenced youth and adults. Seton established a youth organization called the Woodcraft Indians, and his background of outdoor skills and interest in youth made him a logical choice for the position of first Chief Scout of the BSA in 1910. His many volumes of Scoutcraft became an integral part of Scouting, and his intelligence and enthusiasm helped turn an idea into reality.

James E. West
Lawyer, advocate of children’s rights; known as Dr. James West
b. May 16, 1876, Washington D.C.
d. May 16, 1948; resting place Valhalla, New York

James E. West was appointed the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.

Although orphaned and physically disabled, he had the perseverance to graduate from law school and become a successful attorney. This same determination provided the impetus to help build Scouting into the largest and most effective youth organization in the world. When he retired in 1943, Dr. West was recognized throughout the country as the true architect of the Boy Scouts of America.



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