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A Brief Background of the Scout Fieldbook (BSA)

The BSA produced forerunners to the Fieldbook as early as 1920 with pamphlets called the Scout's Fieldbook or Scoutmaster's Fieldbook. And from 1927 to 1942, they produced "The How Book of Scouting", which was also a Fieldbook forerunner. They finally produced the first official Fieldbook in 1944.

1st Edition—Scout Fieldbook (1944-1967)

Author credit went to both James E. West, Chief Scout, and William Hillcourt. West retired as Chief Scout Executive in 1943 and was named Chief Scout until his death in 1948 (only other Chief Scout was Ernest Thompson Seton). Cover art was by BSA art director Don Ross, who also did the cover art for the 1948 Scout Handbook, the 1947 & 1953 Scoutmaster Handbooks, and the Cub Scout Handbooks of the period. The book is lavishly illustrated with black-and-white photographs. Some photos were updated as uniform styles changed. Chapters are called "Pow-wows". The back cover of many printings had an index listing references to all Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class advancement requirements.
1st Edition, 1st printing front cover 1st Edition, 1st printing back cover
1st Edition, later front cover 1st Edition, later back cover

1st Edition Summary and Printing History

Actual 1st Edition Table of Contents

Contents of First 18 printings:


Last Revision to This Page: 9 January 2021
Text copyright © 2006 by Jeff Snowden
Web format © 2006-21 by Troop 97 BSA
Handbook pictures copyright © by Boy Scouts of America