arrowHOMEBSA Handbooks & Handbook CoversScoutmaster Handbook

A Brief Background of the Scoutmaster Handbook (BSA)

5th Edition—Scoutmaster's Handbook (1959-1972)

All covers were dark blue with the beloved Norman Rockwell painting "The Scoutmaster" (unusual in that he is wearing a yellow neckerchief instead of red). Author again was William Hillcourt, and this was a mild update of the 4th Edition, as can be seen from the table of contents. One new tool is added on how to take over an old troop.
5th Edition

5th Edition Summary and Printing History

Actual 5th Edition Table of Contents

6th Edition—Scoutmaster's Handbook (1972-1981)

All covers were a two-tone light green/dark green, with only the title and a small cartoon of a Scoutmaster talking with a Scout in the corner. All handbooks of this era had the same two-tone color scheme. This monotonous and dull look was further emphasized by the dull look of the recycled paper inside. This book contained no photos, replacing them with a lot of cartoon-like drawings, all of them black-and-white-and-dull-green. Most of the content is useful material for the Scoutmaster, but the book is filled with the new and awkward "politically correct" terminology that reflected the disastrous Scouting program of the 1970s (ranks became "progress awards", Scoutmaster conference became "personal growth agreement conference", etc; and BSA lost 1/3 of its membership between 1972 and 1978). I'm not sure who the author was, but it wasn't William Hillcourt, who strongly opposed the "Improved Scouting Program".
6th Edition

6th Edition Summary and Printing History

Actual 6th Edition Table of Contents


Last Revision to This Page: 20 July 2016
Text copyright © 2006 by Jeff Snowden
Web format © 2006-16 by Troop 97 BSA
Handbook pictures copyright © by Boy Scouts of America