Daniel C. Beard, Founder of the Boy Scout of America

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Daniel Carter Beard

Also Known As: "Uncle Dan"
Birthplace: 17 W. 9th Street, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States
Death: Died in Suffern, Rockland County, New York, United States
Place of Burial: Spring Valley, Rockland County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Henry Beard and Mary Caroline Beard
Husband of Beatrice Alice Beard
Father of <private> Beard and Daniel Bartlett Beard

Occupation: illustrator; founder of boy scouts of america
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Daniel C. Beard, Founder of the Boy Scout of America


Daniel Carter "Uncle Dan" Beard (June 21, 1850 – June 11, 1941) was an American illustrator, author, youth leader, and social reformer who founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, which Beard later merged with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

He started an early career as an engineer and surveyor. He attended art school in New York City. He wrote a series of articles for St. Nicholas magazine that later formed the basis for the American Boy's Handy Book. He was a member of the Student Art League, where he met and befriended Ernest Thompson Seton in 1883. He illustrated a number of books for Mark Twain, and for other authors such as Ernest Crosby.

Beard became the editor of Boy Scout magazine and wrote a monthly column for youth. He founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, basing it on American frontier traditions. He later moved his column to Women's Home Companion. After conflicts with a new editor, he moved to the Pictorial Review. Since Women's Home Companion retained the rights to the name, he simply renamed the organization to Boy Pioneers of America.


He merged his organization into the Boy Scouts of America when it was founded in 1910. Beard became one of the first National Scout Commissioners of the Boy Scouts and served it for 30 years. The work of both Beard and Ernest Thompson Seton are in large part the basis of the Traditional Scouting movement.

Beard also helped his sister organize the Camp Fire Girls and became president of the Camp Fire Club of America. Beard was a Freemason in a New York Lodge, and an award for Masonic Scouters has been named in his honor.

Beard founded Boy Scouts Troop 1 in Flushing, New York, which is believed to be the oldest continuously chartered Boy Scout Troop in the United States.[citation needed] Beard became an Eagle Scout on February 15, 1915.[4]

Prior to the establishment of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Dan Beard was recipient of the only "gold Eagle badge" awarded at the Second National Training Conference of Scout Executives held in 1922 in Blue Ridge, North Carolina.

Dan Beard was also involved with the Culver Academies' summer camp program for many years, which used his "Sons of Daniel Boone" program. This program still exists as the Academy's Culver Woodcraft Camp.

Beard died on June 11, 1941, shortly before his 91st birthday at his home (named "Brooklands") in Suffern, New York. He was buried near his home at the Brick Church Cemetery in Spring Valley, New York. The National Program Director of the Boy Scouts of America, E. Urner Goodman, was selected to be in charge of the beloved youth leader's funeral in Suffern. An estimated 2,000 people lined the funeral route to the cemetery in Monsey, New York, where 127 Boy Scouts formed an honor guard and assisted with traffic control.

Honors and legacy

The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge carries I-471 across the Ohio River. A life-size bronze statue of Daniel Carter Beard and a Boy Scout, created by world-renowned sculptor Kenneth Bradford, stands in Covington, Kentucky. The nearby Daniel Carter Beard Boyhood Home is now a National Historic Landmark in the Riverside Drive Historic District.

Junior High School 189 Daniel Carter Beard is located in Flushing, Queens, New York; the Daniel Carter Beard Mall is a nearby park. The Daniel Carter Beard Elementary School is located in Chicago, Illinois.

The Dan Beard Council is the administrative body of the BSA in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Many Scout camps have sites named after Beard including Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Forestburg Scout Reservation in Forestburg, New York and Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Maryland. Other camps have programs named after Beard, such as the first-year camper program at McKee Scout Reservation in Kentucky.

Freemasons in the U.S. offer the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award for Masons who are involved with Scouting. The BSA offers the James West Fellowship Award; an advanced level is the 1910 Society which in turn includes levels of contributions— the Daniel Carter Beard is recognized for a gift of at least $100,000.


Captain Jinks, Hero, from the 1902 book of the same name, illustrated by Beard

Beard's frontispiece for Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

The American Boy's Handy Book (1882) (1903) still in print

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), illustrator, still in print

The American Boy's Book of Sport (1890)

Moonblight and Six Feet of Romance (1892) still in print

The Outdoor Handy Book (1896) still in print

Jack of All Trades (1900) still in print

Field and Forest Handy Book (1906) still in print

Handicraft for Outdoor Boys (1906)

Animal Book and Campfire Stories (1907)

Boy Pioneers and Sons of Daniel Boone (1909)

Boat Building, and Boating(1912) still in print

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties (1914) still in print

The American Boy's Book of Bugs, Butterflies and Beetles (1916)

The American Boy's Book of Signs, Signals and Symbols (1918)

The American Boy's Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft (1920) still in print

The American Boy's Book of Wild Animals (1921)

The Black Wolf-Pack (1922)

American Boy's Book of Birds and Brownies of the Woods (1923)

Do It Yourself (1925)

Wisdom of the Woods (1926)

Buckskin Book For Buckskin Men and Boys (1929)

Hardly A Man is Now Alive(1939) his autobiography


From the Kentucky Encyclopedia:


Beard, Daniel Carter

Daniel Carter Beard, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, was born June 21, 1850, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to James Henry and Mary Caroline (Carter) Beard. The family moved to Covington, Kentucky, where he was educated in local schools and studied civil engineering at Worrall's Academy, graduating in 1969. He went to work as a surveyor for the Cincinnati city engineer and in 1874 joined Sanborn Maps and Publishing Company of New York. For the next four years, Beard traveled extensively throughout the country, surveying land and drawing animals, a talent inherited from his father, one of the best-known portraitists of his time. In 1878, Beard joined his brothers James, Harris, and Thomas as an illustrator in New York City. His first book, "What to Do and How to Do It: The American Boy's Handbook," was published in 1882. Fifteen other handicraft books followed over the next 50 years.

Beard became editor of "Recreation", a sportsmen's monthly, in 1905, and under his direction the magazine began supporting wildlife and environmental concerns. In the same year, he organized the Sons of Daniel Boone, the earliest forerunner of the Boy Scouts of America, to encourage conservation, love of the outdoors, and the pioneer spirit. In 1909, he founded the Boy Pioneers of America, which had some influence on the formation of the Boy Scouts movement in England, headed by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, and the Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1910. Although Beard did not himself form the Boy Scouts, he is often credited as its founder, and he served as a charter member of the Boy Scouts of America executive committee and as national Scout commissioner for 30 years. He designed and created the Scout hat, shirt, neckerchief, and many of the merit badges. He was associate editor of Boy's Life, the Scouting magazine, in which he wrote a monthly column until his death. In 1922, he received the only gold eagle badge ever awarded by the Boy Scouts. He was awarded the first medal for outstanding citizenship by the state of Kentucky.

On Aug. 15, 1894, Beard married Beatrice Alice Jackson of Long Island, New York. They had two children, Barbara and Daniel Bartlett. Beard died at Brooklands, his home near Suffern, New York, on June 11, 1941, and was buried at Brick Church Cemetery in Rockland County, New York, near his estate. One of the honorary pallbearers at his funeral was President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Daniel C. Beard, Founder of the Boy Scout of America's Timeline

June 21, 1850
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States
August 15, 1894
Age 44
Newtown, Erie County, New York, United States
November 28, 1906
Age 56
New York, United States
June 11, 1941
Age 90
Suffern, Rockland County, New York, United States
Spring Valley, Rockland County, New York, United States