Here are the inaugural recipients of the Hillcourt Silver Medal

The Scout movement has a long, proud, rich and interesting history. To recognize those who have helped preserve that history, The “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt Foundation has established The Hillcourt Silver Medal for distinguished service to the history of Scouting at the national and international levels.

The inaugural recipients are Dr. Allen Warren, York University, York, United Kingdom; Dr. Tammy M. Proctor, Utah State University, Logan, Utah; and Dr. Kenneth P. Davis, independent scholar and author, Alexandria, Virginia.

The Hillcourt Silver Medal will be awarded annually to historians who have given distinguished service to Scouting history at the national or international levels, including the various Scouting organizations throughout the world. Recipients may be professional or avocational historians, including professors, teachers, museum directors and curators, archivists, librarians, independent scholars, authors, artists and collectors.

Service to the history of Scouting may be in any form or medium, including books, articles, museums, displays, speeches, conferences, film and other forms of art.

The Hillcourt Foundation will share information on the process for future nominations in September 2024. A bronze medal for distinguished service to Scouting history at the local and regional levels will be available in 2025.

Let’s take a closer look at the Hillcourt Silver Medal recipients.

Dr. Allen Warren

Dr. Allen J. Warren is one of the most important researchers of modern Scouting history. Starting in the 1980s, his 11 articles and book chapters on Baden-Powell and the early days of the Scout movement were among the first scholarly writings on B-P and Scouting and related youth topics. He has also published almost 20 articles and books on British political, religious, and cultural history. His most recent book is Keynsham and its Scouts (Petergate, Quacks Books, 2021).

Warren has been active in Scouting in Britain as both a Scout and a leader, at the district level and nationally, having served several years as a member of The Scout Association’s Committee of the Council. The Chief Scout awarded him the Silver Wolf in 1987. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, June 2011, he was awarded the rank of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Dr. Tammy Proctor

Dr. Tammy M. Proctor is a leading scholar on the history of Boy Scouting and Girl Guiding/Scouting. She is currently a distinguished professor of history at Utah State University.

Proctor has authored or edited three books on Scouting history: Scouting for Girls: A Century of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2009); Scouting Frontiers: Youth and the Scout Movement’s First Century (co-editor) (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009); and On My Honour: Guides and Scouts in Interwar Britain (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2002). Her other work on Scouting history includes book chapters, journal articles and many speeches, talks and interviews.

She has also written and spoken extensively on World War I and interwar Europe. She is the current co-editor of the Journal of British Studies.

Dr. Kenneth P. Davis

Dr. Kenneth P. Davis is one of the most published historians of the Boy Scouts of America. His books include A History of Wood Badge in the United States (two editions), The Brotherhood of Cheerful Service: A History of the Order of the Arrow (four editions) and Born at the Confluence: A History of the Philmont Staff Association (two editions).

After service in the United States Army in Vietnam, Dr. Davis earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia. His professional career of 28 years was dedicated to the United States, with the National Archives, the General Services Administration, and the Defense Logistics Agency.

Dr. Davis is an exceptionally active and experienced Scout leader trainer, with 69 years of registered service, and has received the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and Silver Buffalo Awards, along with the Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award and many other recognitions.

Who was Green Bar Bill?

Born in 1900 in Denmark, at age 10 Hillcourt was one of the first Scouts in the country. Active as a youth and young adult, he was a leader and writer for the Danish Scout Association. He moved to the United States in 1926, devoting his life to the Boy Scouts of America as a professional writer and a volunteer leader. He authored several editions of the Boy Scout Handbook, Handbook for Scoutmasters, Scout Fieldbook and hundreds of popular articles on Scout skills and activities in what was then called Boys’ Life magazine under the name “Green Bar Bill” — based on the patrol leader’s badge of two horizontal green bars. Hillcourt authored the first scholarly biography of Scouting’s founder, Baden-Powell: The Two Lives of a Hero, with the help of Lady Baden-Powell. After retiring in 1965, he spent almost three decades traveling the world teaching advanced Scouting techniques to leaders around the globe, earning him the title “Scoutmaster to the World.”

BSA pioneer William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt (left) with Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell in 1935.

What is The “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt Foundation?

The estates of Hillcourt and his wife, Grace, were left in trust to fund The “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt Foundation, which supports Scout programming and history, and serves as his literary executor and the custodian of his extensive collection of Scout memorabilia, books and personal papers, now on long-term loan at the National Scouting Museum at Philmont Scout Ranch.

For the last 16 years, the Hillcourt Foundation has supported independent scholarly work on the history of Scouting as a sponsor of programs such as “Scouting: A Centennial History Symposium” at Johns Hopkins University in 2008, a panel on international Scouting history at the American Historical Association annual meeting in 2015 and a panel on comparative history of aspects of Scouting in the United States and Sweden at the Society for the History of Children and Youth annual meeting in 2015, as well as the National Scouting Historian Summit for Scout youth and leaders in 2019. The Foundation is a frequent contributor to the National Scouting Museum and various volunteer efforts in Scouting history, as well as a supporter of certain activities at national and international Scout events.

The “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt exhibit at the National Scouting Museum at Philmont. Photo courtesy of The Hillcourt Foundation

About Aaron Derr 448 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.