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398   Robert Baden-Powell  $300 $300 $330 1 You must login to place a bid.
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#398 - Robert Baden-Powell Estimate: $2,000+

Lengthy handwritten draft letter about the fledgling Boy Scouts Organization

Rare handwritten draft letter in pencil by Robert Baden-Powell, unsigned, 12 total pages, 6.25 x 8, no date but circa 1917, stationary from Baden-Powell's home in Gray Rigg, Lilliput, Dorset. This draft letter was composed to the Secretary of the Teachers' Registration Council, explaining the philosophy of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and advocating for inclusion of the organization in school training. The nascent organization was just taking root across the United Kingdom and the world, and Baden-Powell refers often to the current war and how Scouting could help foster a thriving post-war society. The letter reads, in part:

“It is generally recognized that abnormal conditions are being brought about by the war: that the best of our manhood is being killed off—that victory will ultimately rest not so much with the nation which secures to itself the greatest tactical or territorial gains, as with the nation which then possesses the most efficient manhood and womanhood for revitalising it and assuring its position. This is mainly a question of Education. It will not suffice for one system of training to be up to the refinements of today, it must be prepared to meet those of the future when our boys and girls must be efficient…intellectually as well as physically, and on a higher standard than heretofore. And we cannot afford then to allow so large a proportion of them to run to waste as we have done in the past. The abnormal situation not only excuses but demands abnormal measures. The problem is to some extent further complicated by the loss of the trained services of a large number of teachers who are taking up arms for the country. It is just these; the younger men imbued with up to date ideas and full of energy, that we can ill afford to lose at this moment.”

Later, in a section entitled, “National inefficiencies and their causes,” he continues: “Our first step has been to note down the chief inefficiencies of our people, and their causes of origin, and then to devise steps of training by which they might be remedied. The following diagram perhaps will explain the idea better than written description." At this point he writes a note to include a diagram from the Scouts circular. He elaborates: "This diagram shows the scheme as organized for boys: one similar in principle but differing in detail is also devised for the girls."

In the section titled “Results,” Baden-Powell writes: “The actual results of the scheme and the training have already far exceeded expectation. It has proved fully attractive to both boys and girls of all stations in life. It has been found applicable both in town and in country; not only in the United Kingdom but all over the Empire, and also in foreign countries. It is sufficiently simple to be efficacious in the hands of men and women hitherto inexperienced in teaching. It has even been put to the highest possible test namely that of War, and has come through it satisfactory. It has proved itself capable of supplying a character-formation in every youth upon which a specialised training can be built in any desired line, whether intellectual, industrial or military. But being as yet unknown or unorganized by the majority of school authorities our effort is only being applied to a comparatively small portion of the rising generation." In fine condition, with file holes to the upper left corners.

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