The cover of Boys' Life, October 2007 issue
|Managing Editor||Michael Goldman|
|Staff writers||Aaron Derr, Paula Murphey, Clay Swartz, Pedro D. Mailburro|
|Categories||Boy Scouts of America|
|Publisher||Boy Scouts of America|
|First issue||January 1, 1911|
The first edition is suitable for the youngest members of Cub Scouting, the 6-to-10-year-old Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts and first-year Webelos Scouts. The second edition is appropriate for 11-to-18-year-old boys, which includes second-year Webelos through 18-year-old Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts and Venturers. If the subscription is obtained through registration in the Boy Scouts of America program, the publisher will select the appropriate edition based on the boy's age.
The magazine's mascot is Pedro the Mailburro, who signs his letters with the signature "UU", meant to represent the hoofprints of a burro.
In 1911, George S. Barton, of Somerville, Massachusetts, founded, and published the first edition of Boys' Life magazine. It was edited by 18-year old Joe Lane of Providence, Rhode Island. He called it Boys' and Boy Scouts' Magazine. At that time there were three major competing Scouting organizations: the American Boy Scouts, New England Boy Scouts, and Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
Five thousand copies were printed of the first issue of Barton's Boys' Life, published on January 1, 1911. As few copies actually reached the public, the more widely accepted first edition is the version published on March 1, 1911. With this issue, the magazine was expanded from eight to 48 pages, the page size was reduced, and a two-color cover was added. In 1912, the Boy Scouts of America purchased the magazine, making it an official BSA magazine. BSA paid $6,000, $1 per subscriber, for the magazine.
Noteworthy writers contributing over the years are Isaac Asimov, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Ray Bradbury, Van Wyck Brooks, Arthur C. Clarke, J. Allan Dunn, Bobby Fischer, Alex Haley, Robert A. Heinlein, William Hillcourt, John Knowles, Arthur B. Reeve, Ernest Thompson Seton, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Often, the version of Boys' Life geared towards older boys features buying guides for products such as cars, MP3 players, digital cameras, sunglasses, and more.
Boys' Life had in 2005 a monthly feature called "BL's Get Fit Guide". Each month highlighted a different aspect of physical health, such as diet, exercise, and drugs. Each month the magazine also features an unusual Boy Scout trip that most Scouts do not normally do. These trips range from a Philmont Scout Ranch adventure to a white water rafting trip.
In both versions, Boys' Life features a video game section, which, in addition to new video game reviews, contains cheats for a video game monthly. They also contain technology updates, as well as book reviews.
Content includes Special Features, Adventure Stories, Bank Street Classics, Entertainment, Environmental Issues, History, Sports, and Codemaster.
Comics have included Bible Stories, Pedro, Pee Wee Harris, Scouts in Action, Rupert the Invincible, The Tracy Twins (created by Dik Browne), Dink & Duff, Tiger Cubs, Webelos Woody, Norby, and John Christopher's The Tripods trilogy. Boys' Life contracted with the Johnstone and Cushing art agency to produce much of its early cartooning content.
Feature columns include Electronics, Entertainment, Fast Facts, History, Hitchin' Rack With Pedro the Mailburro, Think and Grin (jokes page), Science, Scouting Around, and Sports. Two columns, Hobby Hows and Collecting, featured Scouts' own personal hobby tips and collections, with them being offered $10 for being published in the issue.
In popular culture
In Mad Men season 1, Pete Campbell hopes to compete with his colleague, Ken Cosgrove, who was published in Atlantic Monthly, but is disappointed to learn he will published, instead, in Boys' Life ( and he must pay a $40 submission fee).
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- "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "BSA at a Glance". Fact Sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
- "Boys' Life Wins No. 1 Periodical Of 2007". Scouting (Boy Scouts of America): 10. November–December 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
- Petterchak, Janice A. (2003). Lone Scout: W. D. Boyce and American Boy Scouting. Legacy Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-9653198-7-3.
- "Boys' Life, April 1911". Trussell.com. Retrieved November 27, 2008.
- "Harrison Cady's Boys Life Birds Eye Views". ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Retrieved March 23, 2008.
- "Funny Business: The Rise and Fall of Johnstone and Cushing," Hogan's Alley #12, 2005
- "Boys' Life magazine". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved July 12, 2006.
- Dizer, Dr. John T. (November–December 1994). "The Birth and Boyhood of Boys' Life". Scouting (Boy Scouts of America). Retrieved July 12, 2006.
- Hood, Robert (March–April 1996). "The Best of Times". Scouting (Boy Scouts of America). Retrieved July 12, 2006.