Every Boy's Library

Robert Baden Powell founded the Boy Scout Association in England in 1907. Chicago newspaper publisher W. D. Boyce met with Baden Powell in England in late 1909, and on his return he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America in February, 1910.

Almost immediately, publishers of the popular juvenile series fiction began printing novels about the adventures of "Boy Scouts". Adventures that had nothing to do with Scouting, the principles of Scouting, or - all too often - anything corresponding to reality. There had been a considerable outcry against the poor morals the series novels were purported to teach to the nations youth. To have the name of the Boy Scouts entwined with this caused great concern in the fledgling organization.

In 1912, the BSA hired Franklin K, Mathiews to be Chief Scout Librarian. And thus was born the Every Boy's Library. This was a series of books aimed at adolescent boys that were intended to portray the proper morals, and decent behavior, at a price that was competitive with the inexpensive juvenile series.

Mary Crosson's "Every Boy's Library" page

The library included classics by Jack London and Robert Louis Stephenson. It included recent fiction that met the BSA's standards. And it included a number of novels that the BSA commissioned itself.

The first being the Crowell's Boy Scout series, six books about the Boy Scouts written by James Otis, Edwin L. Sabin. and Percy Keese Fitzhugh.

And so the "approved" Boy Scout novels began.


The Way it Was - The Battle of the Books, Keith Monroe, Scouting magazine, September 1986

A Bully Bunch of Books, M. Paul Holsinger, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Winter 1989