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Back to the doughboy uniforms?

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I've been toying with the idea of getting a group of scouts together as a "reenactor" colorguard for the U.S. 100th anniversary of scouting. My vision is to have a group of boys to do colorguards in 1910 era uniforms at various scouting and community functions.


I can't see using heirloom uniforms and museum pieces for this, so I'm investigating the possibility of creating replica uniforms. I've read the statement somewhere that "once a scout uniform, always a scout uniform," but this, I think, is uncharted ground.


Before I proceed, I wanted to get some others' opinions on the appropriateness of this endeavor, leads on costume research and aquisition, etc.


Since it's just an idea, I haven't pesented it formally, but I have enthusiastic support of several other leaders and interest from several boys (which is what really matters).


What say you?




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An interesting idea! Since you would be recreating these uniform pieces, they would be reproductions and hence not offical BSA uniforms. So you'd have to consider them as costumes. (Similarly, Civil War reenactors are considered to be in costume by the US military). Unless ... the unit is a Venture Crew which is allowed to choose their own uniform! ;)

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We have been looking into this for some time now but are having problems with the historical accuracy of the uniform. Was it a WW I military uniform or a scout manufactured uniform? How long did scouting exist before an official uniform was adopted? Was the scout uniform the wool tunic over the cotton shirt or was it the cotton summer tunic?


As a CW reenactor, the research is as important as the uniform. When they are made they are reproduced with the utmost care to make sure it could look exactly like the original.


So far from pictures, etc. it seems to be very similar to the WW I style tunic/pants but with a very different legging than the military.


If anyone comes up with information on patterns, fabrics, buttons, etc, I would definitely be interested.



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Trevorum, I thought of the Venture angle, but I'm likely to have a few volunteers that won't quite make the 14 y.o. requirement. Not outside the realm of possibilities, though.


Jblake47, a potential reference book (perhaps the only one) on uniform history can be found at http://mitchreis.com. I've asked for one as a gift from my wife, but I don't have one in hand.


Back when the National Scouting Museum was in Murray, KY, I would have had a short drive for some primary references. Texas is a bit much, I'm afraid.


I'm not sure about the technical aspects of reproducing metallic components, but I think I have local resources that can do patterns, sewing, and machine embroidery.





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Yes, Mitch Reis' excellent book will be indispensible for any BSA uniform recreation. Also, there are folks who collect historical uniforms and who might be willing to offer you advice, photos, etc. I'd suggest posting to Patch-L (it's not just for patch collectors!).


see www.gilwell.com/patchl/




(edited the link)


(This message has been edited by Trevorum)

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Trevorum writes:


"An interesting idea! Since you would be recreating these uniform pieces, they would be reproductions and hence not official BSA uniforms."




Since you did not specify which month of 1910 you wish to "reenact," perhaps one possible way to avoid arrest by the Uniform Police is to recreate the kind of Scouting Uniforms that were worn in the United States from 1908 until the BSA's incorporation on February 8, 1910!


Before the BSA, boys based their Scout Uniforms on Baden-Powell. You could call them "February 7th" Uniforms :-/


Detailed plans for a Traditional Baden-Powell Scout Shirt can be found at The Inquiry Net:




These instructions appear to be for a shirt photographed in 1921, but according to the author, Geoff O'Callaghan, they date back to the 1800s: "In fact, Baden Powell designed the scout shirt after the military shirt worn in India and Africa. The origins of this shirt go back to the Long Shirt (Kameez) worn by Islamic men in Afghanistan. The Closed Front design was made in India, and traded all over the world in the 19th century."


O'Callaghan is usually willing to answer historical questions. Perhaps he can tell you how his Baden-Powell shirt would have differed (if at all) from a shirt worn by Scouts imitating Baden-Powell in February 7th 1910.





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Mitch Reis's works would be a good source of information.


As I recall, the BSA used the 'doughboy' style uniform for a while (5-10 years?). There were BSA items unique to it, such as BSA medal collar pins, BSA medal buttons, etc. Insignia was different, and not quite worn in the same locations.


I think the idea of making uniforms of that style for re-creation purposes very interesting.


(ps, everyone. the program is called 'Venturing', not 'Venture'. units are 'Venturing Crews'.)


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Thanks for the links and ideas everyone. If anything else should cross your collective minds, pass it on!


A related bit of good news: I just discovered that one of my new Cub Scout moms is a costumer for the local university's theater department. One more resource to call on!



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hot-foot-eagle, I applaud your wanting to recreate the uniforms of old to honor our 100th anniversary. Would you consider a color guard using examples of uniforms throughout the BSA's history? Using Mitch Reis' book on Boy Scout uniforming would be THE authoritative way to go and its one very interesting book to boot!


There are still many sevicable older uniforms availible in sizes that go from small to large, even if you used the older khaki-green or olive green uniforms from the 1930's on through 1980, you could re-create several variations by utilising shorts, breeches (only used through 1950),campaign hats, overseas or flat hats, garter tabs for knee socks....


The hard part will be getting the "dough-boy" style tunics and breeches....my only suggestion would be searching for WW1 reenactors on the web and finding where they get theirs from. I used to be a reenactor and I know that such uniforms were offered by a firm called "New Columbia",..however they are out of business since the 1990's as the owner died.


Good luck in this endevour hot-foot-eagle! feel free to pm me on this.

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  • 15 years later...

Welcome to the forum.   Our troop is over 100 years old and we were able to purchase recreator's World War 1 uniforms on-line several years ago. Another troop had made replica period patches and shirt buttons and we were able to purchase some of them also.  One of the harder items to acquire were the red felt troop numbers. 

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