Boy Scout Handbook Information

From Wikipedia

Boy Scout Handbook
Boy Scout Handbook (12th edition 2009).png
Cover of the 12th edition
AuthorBoy Scouts of America
CountryUnited States
Publication date
1910, 1st edition
2020, 14th edition
ISBN 978-0-8395-3102-9
OCLC 302189421
369.43 22
LC ClassHS3313 .B69 2009
Text Boy Scout Handbook at Wikisource

Boy Scout Handbook is the official handbook of Scouts BSA. 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 handbook opens by introducing the Scout Oath, The Scout Motto, The Scout Law, the Scout Slogan.

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, 11th and 12th editions. [1]

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 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 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. [1] [2]

First edition

The Official Handbook for Boys was published in June 1911. [1] 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, it is noted that "in short, to be a good Scout is to be a well-developed, well-informed boy." [3]

Scouts BSA

The Boy Scouting program began admitting girls in 2019 and was renamed Scouts BSA. The handbook was renamed the Scouts BSA Handbook. It is available in two editions with identical content but one with photos of boys and one of girls.

Later editions

Dates and names of the various editions are: [1]

  • The Official Handbook for Boys: A Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life-craft (1st ed.). 1910–1911.
  • The Official Handbook for Boys (2nd ed.). 1914–1927.
  • The Official Handbook for Boys ( Every Boy's Library (Boy Scouts of America Edition) ed.). 1914–1927.
  • Revised Handbook for Boys (3rd ed.). 1927–1940.
  • Revised Handbook for Boys (4th ed.). 1940–1948.
  • Handbook for Boys (5th ed.). 1948–1959.
  • Boy Scout Handbook (6th ed.). 1959–1965.
  • Boy Scout Handbook (7th ed.). 1965–1972.
  • Scout Handbook (8th ed.). 1972–1979. [4] [5]
  • Official Boy Scout Handbook (9th ed.). 1979–1990. [6]
  • Boy Scout Handbook (10th ed.). 1990–1998.
  • Boy Scout Handbook (11th ed.). 1998–2009.
    • Boy Scout Mini Handbook (11th ed.). 2009.; an extract of the standard handbook for use as a temporary advancement record
  • Boy Scout Handbook (12th ed.). 2009–2016.
  • Boy Scout Handbook (13th ed.). 2016–2019.
  • Scouts BSA Handbook for Boys (14th ed.). 2019.
  • Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls (14th ed.). 2019.


  1. ^ a b c d "Editions: Boy Scout Handbook by Boy Scouts of America". LibraryThing. LibraryThing. Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  2. ^ Scott, David C. (2006). "The Origins of BSA's 1910 Handbook". International Scouting Collectors Association Journal (ISCA Journal). 6 (4): 6–13.
  3. ^ "Boy Scout Handbook Covers". Boy Scouts of America: 95 Years of Service. Boy Scouts of America. 2005. Archived from the original on October 1, 2005. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  4. ^ "Eighth edition". History of the Boy Scout Handbook (BSA). Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Handbook's 8th Edition Brings Big Changes to Scout Skills". Scouting Wire. June 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "Ninth edition". History of the Boy Scout Handbook (BSA). Retrieved September 30, 2019.

External links