The Scout Oath and my Bureau

Comments on the previous post led me to do some looking. For the Cub Scout Oath I had to use the internet, and that oath was modified, changing the phrase “to be square”.

For the Boy Scout Oath, I had only to go to my bureau. For several years, the top of my bureau has displayed a collection of my mementos. I took the picture this morning, just before I left for the range, and wasn’t thinking about the ammo cases I was getting ready to pack. The rest of those things have been unmoved so long they are dusty.

There, on the left, is a first edition of the Revised Handbook for Boys. The cover is not in the best of shape. It was given to me by another Scouter. I have read it front to back. It is a treasure of history, information, and a window both into the Boy Scouts and into the United States before the 2nd World War.

I wanted to try to pick some pages to scan as examples. I found myself lost in the merit badges, reading about outdoor cooking, flag etiquette, history, campcraft, safety, and I keep getting something in my eyes. Click any of these images to enlarge them. First, the cover.

Here’s the requirements signoff page for 1st Class. The following 196 pages are the 1st Class section, breaking out each one of these requirements in detail.

Here’s one that is part of where we started these stories. The 2nd Class requirement for fire building. With pictures of various layouts.
It is a rich document, so much more useful than the Handbook of today. I referred to it, and to a 1950’s copy of the Scoutmaster’s Handbook, often when I was Scouting.

Looking here, and online, my best conclusion is that the Scout Oath is unchanged since 1910. Taking an oath “On My Honor” has set Scouts apart for 90 years. Here’s how seriously that phrase was taken.

The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.