ORIGINAL EDITION – In 1910 the Boy Scouts of
America created a temporary edition of the Scout Handbook while
developing its first edition. Ernest Thompson Seton, BSA’s Chief Scout,
wrote “A Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life-craft”. It served as
the official handbook of the BSA into its second year.
FIRST EDITION – 1911-1914. The “Official Handbook for
Boys” became the official manual for Boy Scouts. The organization of
material was somewhat weak and some basic skills were not presented in this
SECOND EDITION – 1914-1927. This edition improved on
the contents and organization from the first edition. Information on skills
such as map and compass, conservation, nature, wood tools was added. Proper
uniform wear was also covered.
THIRD EDITION – 1927-1940. This edition was titled
“Revised Handbook for Boys”. Norman Rockwell produced the artwork for the
cover. This was the first real rewrite of the handbook. It introduced the
proper wear of the neckerchief. This is the only edition to encourage the
Scouts to perform military drills.
FOURTH EDITION – 1940-1948. This edition was also
called the “Revised Handbook for Boys”. The cover art was once again by
Norman Rockwell. It was in effect a continuation of the third edition.
Additional woodcraft and scoutcraft skills were added to those covered in
the third edition.
FIFTH EDITION – 1948-1959. This edition was simply
called “Handbook for Boys”. It covered new advancement requirements and a
new joining age of 11 years old. It introduced the slogan of “Do a Good Turn
Daily”. It taught lashings and the taut line hitch. This edition had two
different covers due to the uniform change from broad brim to overseas cap.
Don Ross did both covers.
SIXTH EDITION – 1959-1965. This edition was written by
William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt who wrote many of the Scoutmaster’s and
Patrol Leader’s Handbooks. It is a multi-colored handbook that is considered
as a modern age manual. Norman Rockwell painted the cover to celebrate the
50th anniversary of the BSA.
SEVENTH EDITION – 1965-1972. This edition resulted from
the BSA revision of the advancement requirements with minimal changes in
content and organization. Both the 6th and 7th edition
are unique from earlier editions due to their larger size and their
full-color artwork. Don Lupo painted the cover with Scouts wearing different
EIGHTH EDITION – 1972-1979. This edition introduced the
most radical change in the BSA program. The “Improved Scouting Program”
changed the direction of the BSA. Emphasis was away from traditional outdoor
program and toward the inner-city. Skill Awards replaced the standard
requirements with outdoor merit badges being taken from the required list
for Eagle. A second cover showed Joseph Csatari’s “All Out for Scouting”.
NINTH EDITION – 1979-1990. William “Green Bar Bill”
Hillcourt came out of retirement to write this handbook. It features a
return to traditional Scouting skills in an effort to recover from the poor
programming of the 1970’s. This was the last cover painted by Norman
Rockwell. The artwork in the fourth printing of this edition was redrawn to
show the new uniform design.
TENTH EDITION – 1990-1998. Unlike former editions, this
one contains over nine hundred photographs throughout. Skill awards were
removed and low-impact camping skills were introduced. Venture and Varsity
programs and Varsity Scouting were also introduced. The new “activities
uniform” is promoted for use in the outdoors. It also contains a lengthy
section on child and drug abuse.
ELEVENTH EDITION – 1998-2009. This edition is an
extension of the former edition. The cover shows Scouts in what we call
“Class B” uniform and contains many pictures showing this uniform
throughout. It adds the global positioning system to learning map and
compass along with information on the “Leave No Trace” program. It continues
information on drug abuse and child abuse and mentions AIDS and STDs.
TWELFTH EDITION – 2009-today. This edition is a
celebration of the 100 years of Scouting in