The Boy Scout Handbook
is the official handbook of the Boy Scouts of America
. It is a descendant of Baden-Powell
's original handbook, Scouting for Boys
, which has been the basis for Scout
handbooks in many countries, with some variations to the text of the book depending on each country's codes and customs.
The original edition of the handbook was based on Baden-Powell's work. Ernest Thompson Seton combined his Woodcraft manual, the Birch Bark Rolls, with Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys. Subsequent works were done by other authors. William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt wrote the 6th, 7th, and 9th editions. Frederick L. Hines wrote the 8th, and Robert Birkby the 10th and 11th editions.
1910 original edition Handbook
The first Official Handbook
, subtitled A Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life-craft
was published from July 1910 until March 1911 and appeared in eight distinct variations. It had once been thought that there was a ninth variation but that was made by one man who supposedly had seen an interleaved version in the National Scout Headquarters many years ago. The BSA National Archives has no record of that variation ever existing. It was written by Ernest Seton
and drew greatly on Baden-Powell
's Scouting for Boys
, it included information on the organization of Scouting, signs and signaling, and camping, as well as Scouting games and a description of several Scouting honours. Notably, this book did not place emphasis on first aid, knife and axe use, or map and compass work, as later editions would. Because this edition of was intended solely as a temporary guide until an authoritative handbook could be made, it is now known as the 1910 Original Edition Handbook
. The cover art was an illustration by Baden-Powell. There were about 28,000 copies printed not 68,900 as previously thought.
The Official Handbook for Boys
in June 1911. In this edition, the American
Scouting program was standardized, albeit with many omissions and mistakes (cf. external links). As with the Original Edition
, many now-standard Scouting skills were passed over, including knife and axe use and map and compass work.
The book describes many Scout-like virtues and qualifications. After a lengthy section on what a Scout should know, including chivalry, history, and national issues, we read that "In short, to be a good Scout is to be a well-developed, well-informed boy.
- Boy Scout Handbook/2nd Edition The Official Handbook for Boys (1914-27)
- Boy Scout Handbook/3rd Edition Revised Handbook for Boys (1927-40)
- Boy Scout Handbook/4th Edition Revised Handbook for Boys (1940-48)
- Boy Scout Handbook/5th Edition Handbook for Boys (1948-59)
- Boy Scout Handbook/6th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1959-65)
- Boy Scout Handbook/7th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1965-72)
- Boy Scout Handbook/8th Edition Scout Handbook (1972-79)
- Boy Scout Handbook/9th Edition Official Boy Scout Handbook (1979-90)
- Boy Scout Handbook/10th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1990-98)
- Boy Scout Handbook/11th Edition Boy Scout Handbook (1998-present)
- Boy Scout Mini Handbook (#30511); an extract of the standard handbook for use as a temporary advancement record
The 12th edition has been contracted for development.