** Boys' Youth Group Uniforms: Biography

Uniformed Youth Group Biography

Figure 1.--Perhaps no individual working with youth groups is more estemed or at least better known than Robert Baden-Powell who founded the Scouting movement. He indeed had some innovative ideas about organizing youth. He also liberally "borrowed" ideas from others developing ideas on youth groups at the time. Here two English Cubs hold a portrait of Baden-Powell.

Some individuals have played a major role in the development of boys' uniformed groupd. Background on their lives is useful in understanding the organizations they founded and the uniforms adopted by those organizations. The most famous individual is of course Lord Baden-Powell who founded the Scouting movement, but many other individuals have played important roles.

Axmann, Artur (Germany, 1913- )

Reich Youth Leader, Artur Axmann was born on 18 February 1913 in Hagen, studied law and in 1928, founded the first Hitler Youth group in Westphalia. In 1932, he was called into the Reichsleitung of the NSDAP to carry out a reorganization of Nazi youth cells and in 1933, became Chief of the Social Office of the Reich Youth Leadership. Axmann gained a place for the Hitler Youth in the direction of state vocational training and succeeded in raising the status of Hitler Youth agricultural work. He was on active service on the western front until May 1940. In August of the same year he succeeded Baldur von Schirach as Reich Youth Leader of the Nazi Party. In 1941, he was severely wounded on the eastern front, losing an arm. During Hitler's last days, Axmann was among those present in the Fuhrerbunker, making his escape at the end of April 1945.

Baden-Powell, Robert (England, 1857-1941)

It can be argued that Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell was less than a perfect man. Born in 1857, he was the eighth child of Henrietta Grace Powell, wife of the Reverend Baden Powell. When Stephe, as he was known by his family, was but three years old, his father died suddenly. Henrietta was a strong and determined mother who did everything she could to ensure that her children were brought up to be strong of character and well educated. To honor her late husband, she added his given name to the family surname creating the hyphenated Baden-Powell. This was difficult only for the youngest son, who then had the cumbersome name of Baden Baden-Powell.

Beard, Daniel Carter (America, 1850-1941)

Daniel Carter Beard had an unusually diverse career that brought him into national prominence as an illustrator, reformer, naturalist, and co-founder of the Boy Scouts of America. The son of painter James H. Beard, he and two of his brothers, Frank and James C. Beard, became prominent New York-based illustrators and cartoonists after establishing a shared studio in 1878. Dan's illustrations appeared in many of the popular periodicals of the time. Among reformers of the late 19th century and early 20th century, Beard was well-known as an early and active supporter of the Single Tax Movement inspired by Henry George's 1879 book Progress and Poverty. Most of the illustrations presented here reflect that interest. Daniel Carter Beard founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905 and played an important part in the early American Boy Scout movement.

Boyce, William D. (United States, 1858-1929)

William D. Boyce was a 51 year-old newspaper and magazine publisher from Chicago, Illinois who after getting lost in a thick London fog in 1910 was escorted to his destination by the famed unknown Boy Scout. Boyce at the time had never even heard of Boy Scouting, but was so impressed that when he retuned to America he helped found the Boys Scouts of America (BSA). He used his business skills to help create the most important youth organization in the United States. Boyce's generous financial contributions were critical at thecearly stages of the program. His donations came with only one condition, the BSA would include all boys, regardless of race or creed. As a result of clashes with BSA executive James West, he withdrew from the BSA and founded the Lone Scout program for boys living in isolated areas.

F�lkersamb, Herman Hoffmann (Germany, 18??- )

A Berlin university student, Herman Hoffmann F�lkersamb, founded a study circle for shorthand at the all boys Berlin-Steglitz grammar school where he was teaching. This schoolboy group began to meet without adult leadership about 1895. The early members of the Wandervogel movement liked to consider themselves the pioneers of the youth mission, yet not until November 1901, in the Steglitz town hall cellar, was the Wandervogel, as an association formally created. The origin and description Wandervogel is perhaps symbolic for many of its members, and for many members of other elements in the German Youth Movement, including the Hitler Jugend. The Wandervogel soon became the preminent German youth movement.

Markievicz, Constance (Ireland, 18??-19??)

Interestingly women played a key role in organizing the Na Fianna �ireann. (As far as we know, women had no important role in organizing other early boys' groups like the Boys' Brigade, Wandervogel, and Boy Scouts). The most important but not the only woman was Constance Markievicz. She was was the major force behind the foundation of Na Fianna �ireann. The Countess was the offspring of an Anglo-Irish County family--the Gore-Booths�s of Lissadell, Sligo. She was a cultured woman brought up in a privlidged environment. As a youth she studied art at London and Paris. She met Casimir Dunin-Markievicz in Paris and married him. She became a passionate nationalist. [Haverty] Couuntess Markievicz was a member of the Sinn F�in Executive and a popular speaker at weekly public meetings that they sponsored in Dublin. The Countess read a local newspaper article describing a loyalist parade in which 800 Irish boys paraded in front of the King's representative and saluted the Union Jack, the symbol of British rule in Ireland. It was at this time that she decided to found a domestic Scouting movement as a patriotic organisation for Irish boys. [Haverty] It is interesting that within the United Kingdom that Baden Powell faced compettion with Vane in England that thought he was too militaistic and Markievicz in Ireland that want a militarized Irish Scout movement. Powell and British authorities were unaware as to just what she and the Na Fianna �ireann were all about.

Robinson, Edgar M. (United States, 18??-1951)

YMCA Executive Edgar M. Robinson played a major role in the early Scout movement. Surprisingly, his name is often not included on a list of American Scouting founders despite the key role that he played. Robinson was an experienced YMCA summer camp director. He had 20 years' experience in youth work when the BSA was founded in 1910. At that time few if any Scouters had any experience at all with youth work. Robinson did not have the chaismatic personality of other early Scouting leaders like Seaton and Beard. But he proved a highly effective manager. He immersed himself in work with boys. In 1900 he became the first boys-work secretary of the Y's International Committee, with headquarters in New York City. Robinson was interested when he began hearing reports in 1908 and 09 about the new Boy Scout movement in England. He wanted to incorporate a Scouting program in the YMCA, but to his surprise he found Scouting associations were already being founded. He convinced William D. Boyce to turn over management of the BSA to the more experienced YMCA. He then played a kety role in the success of the BSA and the absorbtion of rival associations. He was largely responsible for the choice of James West to relace him so he could retirn to YMCA work.

Seaton, Ernest Thompson (United States, 1860-1946)

Ernest Thompson Seaton, or "Black Wolf," was an award winning wildlife illustrator and naturalist who was also a spell-binding storyteller and lecturer, a best selling author of animal stories, expert with Native American Sign language and early supporter of the political, cultural and spiritual rights of First Peoples. He played a major role in the development of the American Boy Scout movement, writing the first American handbook and serving as Chief Scout. An early colaboration with Baden-Powell soured after the founder of Scouting apparently stole many of his ideas and cpncepts. Seaton promoted the naturalist and native American approach to Scouting, but lost out to thoise who want a more militarist approach. He devoted much of his energy to the Woodcraft movement in America.

Soames, Olave (England, 1899-1977)

Olave Soames was born in Chesterfield, England (1889). Her father was Harold Soames. married Robert Baden-Powell a few years after he founded the Scouing movement in Britain (1912). This photo was taken a month before they married. Baden-Powell inspected the vessel the Mirror, that the Daily Mirror newspaper donated for Sea Scouting activities. Sea Scouting had been started 3 years earlier (1909). The postcard shows Olave chatting to a Boy Scout on board the Mirror. The caption reads: 'No16. Miss Soames B.P's fianc�e chatting with a Scout on board the Mirror). We can see that there still was not a special uniforms for Sea Scouts. The boy is wearing the same uniform of the regulr Scouts. He is however barefoot as was often the case for the Sea Scouts when boating. The same was the norm also for Royal Navy cadets when aboard the training ships and sometimes ashore. She became known as Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, or The Dowager Lady Baden-Powell, after he passed away. The Boy Scouts priced so popular in Britain and other countries tht the girls wanted in on the fun. The girls were called Guides or in America and some other cuntries, Girl Scouts. Olave became Chief Guide for Britain (1918). She was elected World Chief Guide (1930). She visited 111 countries during her life attending Jamborees promoting the Scouting movement.

Smith, William Alexander (Scotland, 1854-1914)

William Alexander Smith was born in 1854 in "Pennyland House" at Thurso, in the remote north of Scotland. When William was 13, his father died and he had to go 550 kilometres south to the big industrial city of Glasgow. There he lived with his uncle. As a young man, William Smith taught Sunday School. He found that although he wanted to tell his boys about Jesus, he had to spend most of the time trying to keep them quiet. He looked at the volunteer Army unit in which he was an Officer, and saw how young men would willingly work together doing drill. Suppose the Sunday School boys were able to do some drill and other activities during the week! Perhaps they would then behave better on Sundays! So, with some friends he did some planning and in 1883 started The Boys' Brigade (the 1st Glasgow Company). It was soon clear that William Smith's idea was just what boys needed and other Companies formed in Scotland, England, New Zealand (1886) and elsewhere.

Vane, Sir Francis Fletcher (England, 1861-1934)

Sir Francis Vane was a fascinating character in Edwardian England and the post World War I era. He was a fascinating character, with wide ranging and seemingly contradictory passions and interests. He was an pier of the realm, an aristocrat with democratic as well as socialist and republican sympathies. Vane was a career soldier who spoke out against war. He was a loyal imperialist who challenged jingoism and the demonising of the enemy. He was eventually fired from the army because of his efforts to prevent a cover up of a number of military murders in Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rebellion. Before World War I, he played a major role in founding the British Boy Scouts, an assocaition with anti-militarism sympathies which for a short period presented a major challenge to Lord Baden Powell's Boy Scout Association. He also founded the Italian Boy Scouts.

Von Schirach, Baldur (Germany, 1907-74)

Baldur von Schirach was born in Berlin on March 9, 1907, the son of an aristocratic German father and an American mother, whose ancestors included two signatories of the Declaration of Independence. On his father's side descended from an officers' family with artistic tendencies and a cosmopolitan background (Carl von Schirach had resigned from the army in 1908 to become a theatre director in Weimar), Baldur grew up in a pampered, well - to - do environment. One of the earliest members of the NSDAP (he entered the Party in 1924 while attending the University of Munich where he briefly studied Germanic folklore and art history), von Schirach was soon a member of its innermost circle, in spite of his youth. A convinced anti - semite, after reading Henry Ford's The International Jew and writings by Houston S. Chamberlain and Adolf Bartels, the aristocratic von Schirach was also a militant opponent of Christianity and of his own caste. Throwing himself body and soul into organizing high school and university students for the NSDAP, von Schirach proved himself an outstanding organizer and propagandist of National Socialism. With his infectious enthusiasm and power to inspire youth with the ideals of comradeship, sacrifice, courage and honor, von Schirach was highly regarded by Hitler who also appreciated his blind devotion as expressed in hero - worshipping verses and such sycophantic sayings as 'loyalty in everything and everything is the love of Adolf Hitler'. In 1929, von Schirach was put in charge of the National Socialist German Students' League and two years later, he was appointed Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP, a post which he held until 1940.

West, James E. (United States, 1876-1948)

James E. West was an attorney active with juvenile cases in Washington DC. He was recruited in 1911 as Executive Secretary, in part because Boyce wanted the BSA based in natioanal capital to demonstrate the organization's national character. West changed his title to Chief Scout Executive. He more than any other person created a well-organized national structure that was a key to the BSA's growth and reputation. He intended to make Scouting only a temporary diversion from his legal career, but that changed with the tremendous growth of the movement. West remained Chief Scout Executive from 1911 until he retired in 1943. Boyce did not, however, get along with West who saw Scouting has his own organization. As a result of the quarel and differences of opinion, West had Boyce's name virtually deleted from BSA records. BSA publications for years omitted his name. West also had serious differences with Seaton who could also claim to be a founder of American Scouting. West for many years resisted the creation of a Cubbing program for younger boys.


Haverty, Anne. Constance Markievicz - Irish Revolutionary.


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Created: November 29, 2000
Last updated: 5:56 AM 12/12/2012