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Frederick Russell Burnham

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  • Frederick Russell Burnham

    I am sort of scratching my head on this one, but with the celebration of the 100th year of Scouting in America and all the print on the various key players in the early founding of Scouting including Boyce. Why is Frederick Burnham hardly ever mentioned? Hardly anyone seems to know about him but he had a fair hand in what Scouting became. Fascinating individual from what I've read.

    For those who have no clue who I'm talking about you can read about him at

  • #2
    Mostly because he was not directly involved in any major way with the actual program. He was a strong supporter of B.P. and a friend, and B.P. credited Burnham with giving him a lot of knowledge that was helpful to development of the eventual final plan; but Burnham was too involved in his many personal adventures to be anything more than a resource from which all the main founders found help.

    Burnham's scouting was more that of the military or frontier type, rather than what eventually became "Scouting", as developed by B.P.


    • #3
      What skeptic said.

      There is a book on him, and there seem to be some who want to promote Burnham to a larger position in the establishment of scouting then I think is really appropriate.


      • #4
        His book, Scouting On Two Continents, is a great read. I agree that he played no significant role in Boy Scouting.


        • #5
          F.K. MATHEWS. Chief Scout Librarian? Here's a man that had a major impact on the quality of program for the boys in the early years and nothing is mentioned of him.....



          • #6
            Frederick Russell Burnham is a fascinating man with an impressive biography.

            Thanks for sharing. Reminded me about what Ive read several times ago.

            There is a drawing from B.P. of Frederick Russell Burnham, which is included in editions of Scouting for Boys.

            He should have his place in the history of the Scouting movement.


            • #7
              Burnham has a very prominent place in BSA history. James E. West recognized Burnham's significant contributions to the Scouting movement by making him an Honorary Scout, writing his biography (He-who-sees-in-the-dark), awarding him a Silver Buffalo, and proving support for the naming of Mt. Baden-Powell and even asking Burnham to deliver the keynote dedication speech. It is also no coincidence that Mt. Burnham lies next to Mt. Baden-Powell, and that the BSA was prominent at both dedications.