Who are those Boy Scouts in 1943?

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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11 Responses to Who are those Boy Scouts in 1943?

  1. Cari Spence says:

    Inside the Handbook noted is a Goodyear advertisement in reference to AIR SCOUTS and says, “The Goodyear Squadron. Akron, Ohio was inducted on June 24, 1942, as the first full squadron in America.” (Just in case anyone wanted to know) and on page 665, is an ad from an Marble’s Arms Mfg. Co. making reference to the war.


  2. Cari Spence says:

    I have a Boy Scout Handbook copyright 1942 and used in 1943. It belonged to my father. The stand alone boy with the poster in that picture is an “Explorer 1st Honor.”

    P.S. There was no wording “under God” in the pledge of allegiance at that point in time.
    “One Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    And, I believe the list given before is a listing of the EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS for 1943:
    L.W. Baldwin
    William J Campbell
    Harmar D. Denny, Jr.
    Amory Houghton
    John Sherman Hoyt
    Paul W. Lichfield
    Raymond F. Low
    Reginald H. Parsons
    William H, Pouch
    G. Barrett Rich
    Earl C. Sams
    John M Schiff
    Frank L. Weil


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Wow! Thank you Carol Daniels!


  4. carol daniels says:

    The Chinese scout on the right is my uncle who is now 82. I doubt the other two scouts were from the same troop. My uncle’s Troop No. 11 was the first all Chinese Boy Scout troop. It was organized by Lawrence Lew Kay and received its charter at a ceremony at the Chinese Community Church in DC on 17th April 1942. So, the date of photo could not have been 1941.


  5. PageRank says:

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  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Is there still a Troop 11 in the National Capital Area Council? My quick search turned up nothing.


  7. Dino says:

    If this photo was taken about 1943, these Scouts would now probably be close to their 80s.


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m missing the point of your posts here, higginbotham. Thanks for confirming that the poster was not after 1945, but I’m not sure what your previous post is intended to do.


  9. j a higginbotham says:

    The posters are from the US printing office and are from 1942 and 1943. The “united nations” are obviously not the “United Nations” of post war times.


  10. j a higginbotham says:


    :: RJ White lives in the city. His work has appeared on McSweeneys.net, Cracked.com, Capnwacky.com and Supermasterpiece, as well as in “Created In Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s, Humor Category.” He is also the host of the Wasted Words podcast, which involves some drinking.

    :: David Andrews posts prosaic lyrics at http://www.reverbnation.com/coconutradio and lyrical prose at felixbunay.livejournal.com. He enjoys singing, dancing and acting like an oxymoron.

    :: Shek Baker lives in the city, maintaining a plush home in the President Heights neighborhood. Unique among the manses on Buchanan Street, it is still operated by indentured servants – owing to the “grandfather clause” of the 14th Amendment.

    :: Benjamin Birdie worked for many years to earn the prestigious writing degrees that currently hang over the desk of his unrelated job and his drawing table. You can watch him further confuse the issue several times a week at http://www.therackcomic.com.

    :: Aaron Bleyaert was born on an April day in 1975. He went to school consistently from 1980 to 1997, a record which stands amongst his siblings to this day.

    :: Brodie H. Brockie is the co-creator of capnwacky.com and makes comedy videos with A Monkey & A Typewriter Productions. He enjoys wearing hats at jaunty angles, whistling and daydreams.

    :: Mickie Cathers is a bon vivant, with degrees in English Literature, Information Science, and Hard Knocks.

    :: Kevin Church writes comic books in the city, usually with the help of fine bourbon.

    :: Victor A. Crawford III (aka Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy, Dirty Buttons, The Suburban Pimpernel) is a dilettante, popinjay, and chutney-bottomed ninnyroger. They seek him *here* and they seek him *there* .

    :: Laura Dinkins-White is a whirligig.

    :: Sean Fraga is from an island in the Pacific Northwest. Three years ago, he moved to the city to attend college. Sean is majoring in American Studies, with a focus on architecture, geography, and the built environment. Read about his confusion with modernity at thismaterialworld.wordpress.com.

    :: Craig Gaines co-hosts the fictional podcast Hudson & Gaines and and is pinning the success of his freelance enterprise on his blog about words, The Writing Guide. He lives in Los Angeles.

    :: Ben Greenman is an editor at the New Yorker. He is the author of several books of fiction, including “A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both,” “Correspondences,” and the recently-released “Please Step Back.” He lives a few states over, in Brooklyn.

    :: Ben Grossblatt was raised on the grounds of the Clydesdale Home for Miscreants. He has gone on to become a “productive” member of society.

    :: Gutbloom is the mayor of LiveJournal, a crumbling city on the blogosphere. He intends to stay there because the rent is cheap and all of the prostitutes know his name.

    :: Ray Ingraham is not a licensed physician, and therefore should probably not be selling medical advice and prescription pads to people from the back of his van.

    :: S. Jones was shocked to find that the opposing party in the 2 decade-long lawsuit would allow him to have any material posted anywhere without seeking further damages. All but the first letter of Mr. Jones’s first name is embroiled in in an altogether different bit of litigation.

    :: A PR flunky by day and writer of curiosities by night, Liz Lent is also editor of The Park Bench, a blog dedicated to the girl nerd way of life.

    :: Born and raised in the beautiful Midwest, Sara Lepro is now a New York-based writer. Her personal hero is Mick Jagger.

    :: Stephen Levinson lives in the city, where he writes jokes and makes funny videos, many of which can be found at Stephenlevinson.com. He’s also the co-founder of Supermasterpiece.com, a comedy website.

    :: Miles Link may hit you up for money, but don’t worry, he’s harmless. Something possessed him to write a blog- borndeadlucky.blogspot.com.

    :: Chris Messick is a co-founder of supermasterpiece.com.

    :: Jonathan Morris is a blend of unfortunate herbs and spices. He mostly draws things, and these things may be found at calamityjonsave.us, and mostly nowhere else.

    :: Jonathan Muller is a cliche wrapped in a stereotype inside of a platitude

    :: As a new economy day laborer, Ilya Perchikovsky helps to build cities out of recycled glass and concrete at http://www.icestone.biz. You can find him in search of green in the American Midwestern concrete jungles.

    :: Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer, and wants to know what you’re going to do about it. He operates a mass grave for short humor located at ludickid.com.

    :: Cedric Rose is trying to program his computer to write a book titled “Easy Living in the Information Age,” about a guy who is trying to program his computer to write a

    :: Hoyt Schermerhorn: Any similarities with the Hoyt Schermerhorn subway station in Brooklyn are purely coincidental. His work (under a different guise) has been seen on Gothamist and on The New York Limes. Step in and stand clear of the closing doors!

    :: Matt Vermeulen is an AR Analyst who enjoys table tennis.

    :: Josh Wilson swallowed a ball bearing when he was very young and has always wondered about its effect on his health. But while he remains alive, he can be found at buriedinthenoise.com. He is standing behind you right now, but will quickly hide if you turn around.

    Photos: Library of Congress, Rushhills


  11. j a higginbotham says:

    If true?
    From the website:
    What is This?
    Fictional urbanism.


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