Who are those Boy Scouts in 1943?

November 13, 2009

A posed photograph:  Three Boy Scouts, from at least two different units, holding a poster Scouts were distributing about international cooperation in World War II.  They are saluting, and behind them rises the dome of the U.S. Capitol on a brilliantly sunny day.

Boy Scouts at the Capitol, 1943? - Library of Congress image

Caption from the U.S. Senate Historical Office: "Boy Scouts aid the war effort by delivering posters that encourage a united fight for freedom, ca.1943. credit: Library of Congress"

1943?  Who were the Scouts?

The photo is online in the collection of the U.S. Senate Historical Office (a good source of images, by the way).

I just wondered, who are those Scouts, and where are they today?

Boy Scouts assisted war efforts in a lot of ways in a lot of American cities, towns and villages.  Affiliates at the Tom Harbin Scout Museum at Camp Wisdom in Dallas (Circle 10 Council) have papers documenting and detailing massive scrap and paper drives, and a lot of other activities we probably wouldn’t let Scouts get into today.

The three Scouts in the photo wear what appears to be two different neckerchiefs, suggesting they come from at least two different troops or other units.  All three wear the uniform of the Boy Scouts of America, but two of the three look as though they may be immigrants or children of immigrants.

The date given is a “circa 1943.”  But the poster plugs a “United Nations” — could it have been as late as 1945 or 1946 and the official organizing of the United Nations?

What do you think?  What do you know?

Update: Wikimedia puts the date of the poster as 1941Shorpy says the photo is 1943:

“Washington, 1943. “United Nations Fight for Freedom: Colored, white and Chinese Boy Scouts in front of Capitol. They help out by delivering posters to help the war effort.” View full size. 4×5 Kodachrome transparency by John Rous for the Office of War Information. What photo expert out there can tell us about the numbers on these Kodachromes — how and at what point in the manufacturing/ exposure/ developing process they were made, and what they signify.

All those details and not the names of the Scouts?  In comments at Shorpy we also see that the temporary patch for the Scout on the left is for a 1942 campout.  So we know the photo was later than 1941.  The community patch for the Scout on the right says Washington where the city patch should be, with no state patch (if they had separate patches then).  So it’s probably a Washington, D.C. unit — and it’s Troop 11.  Anybody from National Capital Council ever read this site?  Were all three of these Scouts from Troop 11?

I have found, but cannot yet examine, another photo from the same roll of film, showing just the Scout in the middle.

Update 2: This may identify one of the Scouts, with an astounding story:

1941, Boy Scout, poster urging water saving, Anderson Grimes

Caption from CityDesk.net: "July 1941. Local Boy Scout Anderson Grimes in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., holding a copy of a WPA poster designed for the city’s landmark water conservation program."

That solo Scout is clearly the same one in the first photo, so we have one name:  Anderson Grimes.

But the entire story from CityDesk.net is more amazing, if true:

July 1941. Local Boy Scout Anderson Grimes in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., holding a copy of a WPA poster designed for the city’s landmark water conservation program. Shortly after this photo was taken, he was to present the poster to local congressman Harford Collins in a brief ceremony. Tragically, Grimes, along with several local reporters and congressional aides, instead found Senator Collins slumped over his desk, dead from a heart attack.

Thirty years later, Grimes ended up serving the same seat in Congress for four terms. He did not die in office.
– RJ White

If true?  I can’t find a listing for a Sen. Harford Collins in the Congressional biography pages, nor for any Member in either house named Anderson Grimes.

More mystery.  Is the Scout even named Anderson Grimes?

Okay, after j. a. higginbotham wrote in, I finally got it:  CityDesk.net is a satire site.  They wrote a phony story to accompany the photograph.

That’s right:  I got hoaxed.

Still looking for information on the Scouts and their troop(s).

Update, November 15: Is the water conservation poster in the version above a PhotoShop addition?  Here’s a photo held by the Library of Congress:

Boy Scout after 1942 showing posters Scouts distributed; photo by John Rous, Library of Congress collection

From Library of Congress: "United Nations Fight for Freedom: Boy Scout in front of Capitol. They help out by delivering posters to help the war effort"

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50 U.S. Senators missing — can you help find them?

November 13, 2009

No, not current senators — don’t get your ignoble hopes up.

With more than 40,000 photographs and other images, the Senate Historical Office has images of almost all people who have served as members of the U.S. Senate.  5o members are completely absent from the Senate collection, however.

Got any idea where to find images of these guys?  This comes from the Senate Historical Office:

Senators Not Represented in Senate Historical Office Photo Collection

The Senate Historical Office maintains a collection of more than 40,000 still pictures, slides, and negatives. The collection includes photographs and illustrations of most former senators, but to date no photo or other illustration of about fifty members has been found. Below is a list (by state) of U.S. Senators for whom we have no image in our collection. If you have an image, or information that may lead us to an image, please contact the Senate’s photo historian.


Alabama: – 2
William Kelly, 1822-1825
John Williams Walker, 1819-1822

Connecticut: – 2
Thaddeus  Betts, 1839-1840
Perry Smith, 1837-1843

Delaware: – 1
Outerbridge Horsey, 1810-1821

Georgia: – 5
William Bellinger Bulloch, 1813-1813
Thomas Willis Cobb, 1824-1828
Alfred Cuthbert, 1835-1843
James Gunn, 1789-1801
Josiah Tattnall, 1796-1799

Kentucky – 1
George Walker, 1814-1814

Louisiana – 3
Eligius Fromentin, 1813-1819
Allan Bowie Magruder, 1812-1813
Robert Carter Nicholas, 1836-1841

Massachusetts – 1
Eli Porter Ashmun, 1816-1818

Maryland – 6
John Henry, 1789-1797
Robert Henry Goldsborough, 1813-1819, 1835-1836
James Lloyd, 1797-1800
William Dunhurst Merrick, 1838-1845
John Selby Spence, 1836-1840
David Stewart, 1849-1850

Mississippi – 4
Robert Huntington Adams, 1830-1830
John Black, 1832-1838
Joseph Williams Chalmers, 1845-1847

New Hampshire – 2
Charles Cutts, 1810-1813
Nahum Parker, 1807-1810

New Jersey: – 3
Jonathan Elmer, 1789-1791
Aaron Kitchell, 1805-1809
James Jefferson Wilson, 1815-1821

New York – 1
Obadiah German, 1809-1815

North Carolina – 4
Timothy Bloodworth, 1795-1801
Jesse Franklin, 1799-1805, 1807-1813
Francis Locke, 1814-1815
James Turner, 1805-1816

Ohio – 3
Stanley Griswold, 1809-1809
Joseph Kerr, 1814-1815
John Smith, 1803-1808

Pennsylvania – 1
Samuel Maclay, 1803-1809

Rhode Island – 7
Nathan Dixon, Sr., 1839-1842
Benjamin Howland, 1804-1809
Henry Frederick Lippitt, 1911-1917
Francis Malbone, 1809-1809
Samuel John Potter, 1803-1804
Joseph Stanton, Jr., 1790-1793
William Sprague, 1842-1844

South Carolina – 1
John Hunter, 1796-1798

Tennessee – 3
Daniel Smith, 1798-1799, 1805-1809
Jesse Wharton, 1814-1815
Jenkin Whiteside, 1809-1811

Vermont – 4
Dudley Chase, 1813-1817, 1825-1831
Nathaniel Chipman, 1797-1803
Jonathan Robinson, 1807-1815
Israel Smith, 1803-1807


You just know that somewhere out there, a local museum has a painting of one of these guys.  Or, someone has a painting or drawing of an old-timey guy hanging over a fireplace, a family heirloom that features one of these guys.  I mean, how could a guy like Outerbridge Horsey fail to inspire an artist somewhere?

Do you know of one?  Contact the Senate Historical Office, and let us know here, too.

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