Celebrating the Scouts

Boy Scouts, North Sebago, 1921

While the Scouting movement in general began in 1907 when Robert Baden-Powell held an encampment on Brownsea Island in England, the American version of the Boy Scouts, started by William D. Boyce, didn’t begin until 1910. The organization was incorporated on this very day, in fact.

This entire year is a major milestone for the Girl Scouts; they began on March 12, 1912 when Juliette Gordon Low organized the first meeting.

Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, center, with Scouts. (From Wikipedia)

There are many symbols and visual markers of the Scouting Movement. Both boys and girls wear various uniforms based on their age group, and patches and badges are the hallmarks of the organizations. Most of these things are readily recognizable, whether or not you were a Scout yourself.

But we found one Scouting item in our collections that wasn’t perhaps as immediately recognizable. Today’s mystery artifact–which looks like the rubber cap to a cane, among other things–is a circa 1940 bone scarf slide owned George Robert Butler of Biddeford. Today’s Scouts are issued small metal clips with insignia to slide over the ends of their kerchief once it’s around their neck. This mid-20th-century version looks entirely handmade.

For more Maine scouting history, see Boy Scout items on Maine Memory, or in our PastPerfect Online Database. We also have a few Girl Scout items in PastPerfect.

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