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.

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29 Comments

  1. 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

    • 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?

  2. 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.

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

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

  5. 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!

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. “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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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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