Boys’ Life magazine, published monthly since 1911, is the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. The magazine continues to this day for subscribers. But even if you are not a subscriber, back issues – EVERY ISSUE –, are available online to everyone through the December 2009 issue. I would suspect that as new issues are produced, more recent back issues will be released to the public. This is very generous and forward thinking of the Boy Scouts.
I recently wrote a blog post about the Heliograph. Well the 1916 March issue of Boys’ Life has an article Signaling With The Sun’s Rays, How To Make A Heliograph. I am freely embedding that issue below:
Google Books is hosting all the back issues. You can browse and search those issues directly with Google.
This blog post is about finding things to do, exploring, discovering, learning, and having fun. It is celebrating the generosity of the Boy Scouts, which however limits participation to only boys. The rationale of that discrimination, is that they are trying to counter a societal trend of the feminization of boys. I believe that trend exists, but it is not limited to just boys. So take the good in what you can find. If you are a girl, don’t be put off. Join the exploring, discovering, learning, and having fun. Read Boy’s Life back issues and take what you find valuable and run with it. I have not been involved with the Boy Scouts, and I have not taken a position, pro or con on their boy only policy. If you want to join an organization that welcomes you, let me point out the Girl Scouts, which is girl only, and Camp Fire USA, which is coed. My personal philosophy is that if you want more of what is good in the world, then celebrate and reward what is good, surround yourself with what empowers you, and don’t give the bad so much power.
A Scout commented on the Boy’s Life site thanking them for the archive of the issues, but wishing the current articles were more like the old ones:
I love it! Thank you for making these available! As a Scout, I personally enjoy reading these 1911 issues more than I do the 2011 issues. On thing that impresses me is the amount of material in the old magazines. It takes me much longer to read it than it does to reading the current magazines, and that is a good thing! I throughly enjoy reading the inspiring, manly fiction, and love the practicality of the articles on useful skills. Scout Skills, Public Speaking, Survival, Fitness, and much more. I love reading how to do things much more than I do reading about other people doing them. I know you at Boy’s Life try to make the magazines to appeal to current boys, and as a Scout myself, I would like to let you know that I would love it if you would make the current Boy’s Life magazines more like the old ones. John Thurman’s apprentice May 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm