American Boy Scouts

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American Boy Scout
Headquarters New York City
Country United States
Founded June 1910
Defunct 1920s
Founder William Randolph Hearst
Membership 17,000 at peak
Affiliation Order of World Scouts 1911-1912
Scouting portal

The American Boy Scouts (ABS), officially American Boy Scout then United States Boy Scouts, officially United States Boy Scout, was an early American Scouting organization formed by William Randolph Hearst in 1910, following on from the formation of the Scouting movement by Robert Baden-Powell between 1903 and 1907. Near the end of its existence, the organizations also used the names: American Cadets and the U.S. Junior Military Forces.

The ABS was the rival of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) similar to the situation in the United Kingdom with Baden Powell's Boy Scouts and the British Boys Scouts who did not like the militarism of early British Scouting. For the most part there were only minor differences between the ABS and BSA despite BSA's charges that the ABS was drilling Scouts with rifles and Scouts were soliciting funds in uniforms.[1]:147

Purpose[edit]

Among the objectives of the organization was to prepare boys for the obligations and duties of citizenship. The ABS sold war bonds during World War I.[citation needed]

History[edit]

ABS Motto

Semper Paratus/ Always prepared

[2]

In May 1910, Hearst called an organizational meeting to form a new Scouting group. Hearst was aware of the Boy Scouts of America, formed months earlier by rival publisher William D. Boyce but pursued his own vision of Scouting and incorporated the ABS in June 1910[3]:68[4] with the State of New York along with James F McGrath and James R. O'Beirne.[2] Edgar M. Robinson and Ernest Seton requested that Hearst united the ABS with the BSA but were rejected.[5] In June 1910, the ABS started organizing the Department of New England which was operational in August or September under chief department scout General William H. Oakes. Additional departments were also formed: Atlantic (HQ: 239 Broadway, New York City), Middle West (Chicago), Northwest (San Francisco) and Southwest (Los Angeles). The national committee was also the officers of the Atlantic Department with Hearst as president, Jefferson M. Levy first vice president, Charles P. Devare second vice president, James R. O'Beirne treasurer and James F McGrath secretary. The honorary vice presidents and founders included Col John Jacob Astor, William K Vanderbilt Jr Major General Fred D. Grant, Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles, General EA McAlpin, and Lieutenant General Adna R Chaffee.[2] The American Boy Scouts of Rhode Island was founded by Charles E. Mulhearn on August 29, 1910 with the meeting of an executive committee. The next day, the Rhode Island committee requested a charter from the ABS New England Department Headquarters.[6]

Scout Oath

On my honor, I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country. To help other people at all times. To obey the Scout Law.

[2]

Hearst had conflicts with the ABS directors over the methods of financing and the improper and unauthorized use of his name for the solicitation of money. He resigned in December 1910.[7][8] Hearst also expressed his disdain at fund raisers being allowed to keep 40% of funds raised without his knowledge. Other leaders resigned at the same time Hearst did.[7] General James O'Beirne, the ABS treasurer, replaced Hearst as president. Hearst referred the matter to the District Attorney which the organization claimed was over Hearst's dismissal.[9] A grand jury was formed and the ABS indicated that they would sue Hearst for the false statement.[10]

Scout Law

A Scout's honor is to be trusted. A scout is loyal to his country, his officers, his parents and his employers. A scout's duty is to be useful and to help others. A scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other scout no matter to what social class the other belongs. A scout must never be a snob. A scout is courteous. A scout is a friend to animals. A scout obeys orders of his parents, patrol leader, or scout master without question. A scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances. A scout is thrifty. A scout is the protector of girls and women at all times — and he holds this a sacred duty.

[2]

Citing ABS mismanagement, the New England Division left the ABS in 1910 and formed the New England Boy Scouts.[11] On March 12, 1911, the Rhode Island group voted to break away from the American Boy Scouts and were renamed the Rhode Island Boy Scouts.[6]

The ABS joined the Order of World Scouts in 1911.[12] In August 1911, General Edwin A. McAlpin was elected national president and Chief Scout.[13]

In March 1912, an ABS Scout in uniform shot and killed a boy with a rifle after a Scout function.[14] The resulting negative publicity caused the group to practically dissolve by 1913.[citation needed]

They went to Remington Arms seeking a single shot training rifle. Remington designed the 4S Boy Scout Rifle and advertised it as the "Official Rifle of the American Boy Scouts" for sale from 1913 to 1914.[15]:62

United States Boy Scout[edit]

The American Boy Scouts were often confused with the Boy Scouts of America, which sometimes caused problems with fund raising and misattributed publicity. The ABS board of directors voted in October 1913 to change the name of the organization to the United States Boy Scout (USBS), primarily to prevent the confusion.[16]

In 1915, BSA President Livingston claimed that the USBS carried guns as part of the program.[17] In 1916, the USBS sought but did not receive a federal charter.[1]:315 After the BSA received a federal charter in 1916, Chief Scout Executive James E. West pressed the USBS to change its name without success. The BSA filed a lawsuit for an injunction order to restrain the USBS from using the term "Boy Scout" in 1917. L.W. Amerman, executive officer & treasurer, acknowledge that the USBS was a more military organization than the ABS.[18] It was also alleged that USBS had used the names of prominent men on its letterhead, such as Elbert Henry Gary, in their fund raising efforts without permission and that donations or endorsements were made to the USBS in the mistaken belief that they were the BSA.[19]

The BSA was represented by Charles Evans Hughes, former Governor of New York and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Testimony included an affidavit from Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the international Scout Movement, on the origins of the Scout Movement.[20]:581 In 1919, the New York Supreme Court, a trial court, granted the BSA an injunction and the USBS was barred from using the terms "Boy Scout", "Scout", "Scouting", or any variation thereof.[21][22][23]

Dissolution[edit]

The organization changed its name and carried on for a few more years as the American Cadets[1]:157 and the U.S. Junior Military Forces before finally dissolving.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Macleod, David (1983). Building Character in the American Boy: The Boy Scouts, YMCA, and Their Forerunners. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-09404-1. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Page 413-416. The Boy Scout Movement. New Boston: A Chronicle of Progress in Developing a Greater and Finer City, Volume 1. Boston 1915, Incorporated, 1910. Accessed on January 17, 2014.
  3. ^ Rowan, Edward L (2005). To Do My Best: James E. West and the History of the Boy Scouts of America. Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. ISBN 978-0-9746479-1-3. 
  4. ^ "Incorporate 'The Boy Scouts'" (PDF). New York Times. June 24, 1910. Retrieved September 26, 2007. 
  5. ^ Peterson, Robert. "The BSA's 'Forgotten' Founding Father". Scouting (October 1998). Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Rhode Island Boy Scouts". Boy's Life (George S. Barton & Co.) 1 (8): 36. October 1911. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Hearst Leaves Boy Scouts" (PDF). The New York Times. December 9, 1910. Retrieved September 26, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Hearst's Name the Lure" (PDF). The New York Times. December 16, 1910. Retrieved September 26, 2007. 
  9. ^ "To Investigate American Boy Scouts". New York Times. December 11, 1910. Retrieved December 9, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Tell of Boy Scout Begging". New York Times. December 14, 1910. Retrieved December 9, 2007. 
  11. ^ Dizer, John T. "The Birth and Boyhood of Boys' Life". Scouting (November–December 1994). Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Story". The Order of World Scouts. Retrieved September 26, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Gen. McAlpin Chief Scout". New York Times. August 13, 1911. Retrieved December 9, 2007. 
  14. ^ "Scouts May Attend Slain Lad's Funeral" (PDF). The New York Times. March 25, 1912. Retrieved September 26, 2007. 
  15. ^ Marcot, Roy (2005). The History of Remington Firearms. Lyons Press. p. 62. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  16. ^ "United States Boy Scouts New Name of Organization". Christian Science Monitor. November 15, 1913. Retrieved September 26, 2007.  (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Praise U.S. Boy Scouts for Their Aid at Bridgeport". New York Times. April 18, 1917. Retrieved December 9, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Calls Scout Suit Absurd" (PDF). The New York Times. August 2, 1917. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Ask U.S. Boy Scouts to Drop Their Names" (PDF). The New York Times. August 10, 1917. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  20. ^ Jeal, Tim (2001). Baden-Powell. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09103-8. 
  21. ^ "A Virtual Boy Scout Museum — 1910-1919". Boy Scout Stuff. Retrieved October 9, 2007. 
  22. ^ "Boy Scouts Win Injunction Suit". Christian Science Monitor. May 31, 1919. Retrieved October 7, 2009.  (subscription required)
  23. ^ "Boy Scouts Win in Court" (PDF). The New York Times. December 16, 1917. Retrieved October 7, 2009.