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These 1913 Scout Law postcards are the coolest thing you’ll see today

You know the Scout Law, but you’ve never seen it like this.

The 1913 Scout Law postcards seen above are a real treat. The cards, originally produced by The Henry Heininger Co., were reprinted by the Northern Star Council in Minnesota and sent to me.

Back then, the postcards were a cool way for boys and leaders to show off their Scouting pride. Today, they’re a visual time machine that shows us how the Scout Law was interpreted nearly 100 years ago.

Most of what you’ll find on these cards is still quite relevant today. There are some real gems in there.

I love the “A Scout is Kind” card. Its main focus is kindness to animals and features the now-defunct First Aid to Animals merit badge. But I want to know how that Scout got the dog to stand still while wrapping his leg.

The words on “A Scout is Brave” are especially relevant with the rise of bullying in schools. I do wonder why the Scout is entering that fire wearing his full uniform and neckerchief, though.

And the next time your guys whine about camp chores, point them to the “A Scout is Cheerful” card which says a Scout “smiles whenever he can” and “never shirks or grumbles at hardships.”

Which one’s your favorite? Which words resonate most today? Do you see any that don’t?

Sound off in the comments.


29 Comments on These 1913 Scout Law postcards are the coolest thing you’ll see today

  1. Are these still available?? Love to get a set.

    Its things like this I had wished the BSA to have reprinted/reissued for 2010…

  2. This is the same “elaboration” that was in the 7th edition of the handbook (which is the one I used as a Scout). But the artwork is great!

  3. GREAT stuff!

  4. This is awesome. Bryan, is there anyway you can make this video link available so we can have it run on our Troop and Pack websites?

    • Jon, if you stop the slideshow from playing (hover over it and click the “stop” button in the middle), you can download each image individually.

      Just right-click and save the files to use on troop or pack Web sites.

      Hope that helps.

    • It’s not a video, it’s a slideshow, and it is running on a WordPress specific app.

      However the images can be found at:
      (loyal.jpg, helpful.jpg, etc.)

      • Thanks for the tip. I love the idea of using these as flashcards with the Webelos! Is there anything similar for the Scout Oath?

      • Thanks for the link to the jpgs, it helps! Question though, do you know what the name of the WordPress app is that allows the slideshow to run on the page. I’d love to add something like that to our Pack webpage.

  5. Chris McCabe // January 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm // Reply

    These are really cool. I’m going to see if I can have them printed up for Flashcards to teach the Webelos ths Scout Law

  6. Scott D. Labrum // January 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm // Reply

    I knew that I saw these before. The Great Salt Lake Council used these as trading cards at their Jamboral.

    • JOHN W OWEN, SR // February 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm // Reply

      I found the 1912 cards fascinating and I enjoy seeing memorabilia. One responder said Great Lakes Council used them at the Jamboree. Is there any other info on how a set might be obtained? I am sure others are interested.
      I also noticed initals engraved on the cards. Does anyone know who the designer was by those initials?

      • Scott D. Labrum // February 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm // Reply

        The Great Salt Lake Council printed these up themselves for their 2010 centennial Jamboral. Contact them to see if there are any left.

        • Good idea. Thanks, Scott.

  7. These are some pretty neat cards. Any collector would want to have these in their collection.

  8. Have one or two (have to check album) in my collection; but originals are hard to find, and very pricy, at least for me. Would be great to have them reprinted by National; with reprint clearly noted. Kind of like the old region patches. They put out a complete set sometime after they went to a newer setup. Have a couple of original patches; but the whole repro set is still great to have if you are a memorabilia buff.

  9. jeff traviss // November 8, 2014 at 9:56 am // Reply

    Wouldn’t it be great if our leaders of this organization concentrated on these 12 points instead of on a sustainability summit?

  10. Albert Gauche // November 8, 2014 at 10:16 am // Reply

    I guess the copyright has expired on these images. Time to print them in 8×10 and frame to display at scout meeting places.

    • Bryan Wendell // November 8, 2014 at 10:19 am // Reply

      Great idea!

  11. Has always been “hungry” I have been told.

    “He eats whenever he can, what he can, and how he can”.

  12. We use these in the “troop” portion of our basic Eagle Scout ceremony, right after the pledge. Each member of the troop reads one of the cards, while lighting a candle that is held by a long log. I never knew where the descriptions came from, and now I do. Thanks!

  13. We just printed these images and are now using them as a border to our new troop bulletin board. Thanks for the images!

  14. These are great! I’ll use them for teaching my Cubs the Law for 2015. I plan to do three per Pack meeting, and having the expository text will help them remember.

    I made a PDF of these images, formatted for landscape printing on letter-sized paper and put a copy up here, in case anybody else needs to do the same:

    • Kathleen Covill // July 10, 2015 at 11:21 pm // Reply

      Thank you for making them full size. I did save the set above as postcard size. My idea is to mail one card to each Cub with instructions to bring this to our September pack meeting (mail early September). The Cubs will be instructed to bring the postcards to the meeting. They are to learn about their law, meaning behind it, do they live it and so on. Then at the pack meeting they will be part of a ceremony announcing the new Cub program and use of the Boy Scout Law. I will then print the large cards that Bill made to use at the meeting and future use.

  15. I know of a point that I would like to see but with so many different disabilities, out there I know it could never happen. My suggestion is that a Scout, must be able to write out their ideas in “Legible Penmanship” they are using a computer so much that their basic Penmanship Skills, have been lost. To be able to write a simple sentence on paper that others can read is a dying art form.

  16. Spencer LeDoux // October 25, 2015 at 2:59 pm // Reply

    With the increased focus on bullying in schools I think the details of Brave are even more applicable today!

  17. “Never do yourself what a Scout can do for himself.”

    Find materials for the Scouts to make their own cards. Stamping, stamp pads, colored markers, quality paper, computer printing, whatever.

    Scouts who say, write and read AND make their own will retain (and be more proud) of their own work than providing it for them.

    It might look better and be easier if the adults do it, but that’s NOT the Scouting way.

  18. Comparison of the Scout Law’s “explanations” in the various handbooks.

  19. These would be great, printed as playing cards, along with the Scout Oath, and other Scout concepts. It was a great way to memorize a variety of things, in the Army. Of course, I would think that the cards would not be printed with suits or numbers.

  20. Paul B Martin // October 1, 2016 at 12:05 pm // Reply

    thank you so much for posting these placards. I had seen them in the council office in Alaska, but no one knew where to find them. I have been in Scouting for over 45 years, have been a Scoutmaster 4 times and been staff on 13 Mountain Man Rendezvous. These are truly a reflection on the Scout law. I have 5 sons who are Eagle Scouts, and now I am starting with a new group of 7 grandsons and am the Cub Committee Chair for our group. My 8 year old grandson will love these. Thanks again. Your friend in Scouting.

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