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A Brief Background of the Scoutmaster Handbook (BSA)

General

This is a brief summary and comparison of each edition of the Scoutmaster Handbook. After producing a Scout Handbook during their first year of operation, the BSA began working on a Scoutmaster Handbook almost immediately. They issued about 3 separate printings of an unbound draft edition and an unbound "proof" edition 1912 and 1913 for evaluation, then released the first official Scoutmaster Handbook edition in 1914.

1st Edition—Handbook for Scout Masters (1914-1920)

All are tan-colored hardbound or red leather, with a photo of a Scout holding a stave on the cover. The author credit simply states, "Published under the supervision of the Editorial Board Representing the National Council". Editorial Board members are listed as William D. Murray (who later wrote the BSA's first history, in 1937), George D. Pratt, & Frank Presbrey. The book is unusual in containing many black-and-white photographs, though some were of poor quality. The book includes 4 pages of military drill, plus a page-and-a-half of "order of the staff" (exactly corresponding to the Army's drill with rifles), this despite Baden-Powell's recommendation that drill not be a part of Scouting.
1st Edition cover


1st Edition Summary and Printing History


Actual 1st Edition Table of Contents

2nd Edition—Handbook for Scoutmasters (1920-1936)

Covers are all leather in varying colors, with gold lettering and a gold First Class badge. As before, the author credit simply states, "Published under the supervision of the Editorial Board Representing the National Council". Editorial Board members are listed as William D. Murray, Frank Presbrey, & Dr Henry Van Dyke. Like before, the book contains many black-and-white photographs, and 4 pages of military drill (though no more "order of the staff"). The book is thorough. Only limited updating was done over the book's 18 printings.
2nd Edition, 1st printing (black cover) 2nd Edition, 5th printing (green cover) 2nd Edition, 15th printing (maroon cover)


2nd Edition Summary and Printing History


Actual 2nd Edition Table of Contents

Continued