Boy Scouts Centennial: Dan Beard and Ed Dodd

June 21, 2010

Dan Beard, a founder of Boy Scouts of America, and cartoonist Ed Dodd, photo dated (incorrectly) February 14, 1950 – Georgia State University Library Photography Collection, Atlanta Area Photographs from the Lane Brothers and Tracy O’Neal Collections

Dan Beard, a founder of Boy Scouts of America, and cartoonist Ed Dodd, photo dated (incorrectly) February 14, 1950 – Georgia State University Library Photography Collection, Atlanta Area Photographs from the Lane Brothers and Tracy O’Neal Collections

Daniel Carter Beard was best known as an illustrator of children’s adventure books.  He founded a group for boys, the Sons of Daniel Boone, in 1905.  That group was merged into the Boy Scouts of America at BSA’s founding in 1910.

Ed Dodd (November 7, 1902 – May 27, 1991) was an illustrator and cartoonist, probably best known for his comic strip “Mark Trail,” which is still carried in many newspapers today.

According to his listing at Wikipedia:

Ed Dodd went to work for Dan Beard, founder of the Boy Scouts of America, at the age of 16. Dodd worked at Beard’s camp in Pennsylvania for thirteen summers, where he honed his writing and illustration skills under Beard’s guidance. Dodd became a scoutmaster and the first paid Youth and Physical Education Director for the city of Gainesville, Georgia.

Another story of Scouting providing a career for a kid, another story of Scouting providing a career for an illustrator (see also Norman Rockwell, and the Csataris).

Dodd was a Georgian.  This photograph, dated February 14, 1950, shows a meeting of the two illustrators, with Dodd appearing older than the 16 he was when he first met Beard.  The photo is in the collections of the Georgia State University Library, in the Atlanta Area Photographs from the Lane Brothers and Tracy O’Neal Collections.  We might assume it was taken in Georgia, perhaps at Dodd’s “Lost Forest” home and workshop.

We know that can’t be the right date, however, since Dan Beard died in 1941.

Who can shed more light on this bit of history?

Updates:  See comments below — among other things, we know that the February 14, 1950 date was the date that a duplicate negative was made.  Please note in comments if you have further details.

More:

Mark Trail strip on NOAA's 200th-2D-MarkTrail650

Click on image: Marke Trail on NOAA’s 200th anniversary; King Features Syndicate

Ed Dodd and others in his studio at Lost Forest, Georgia, drawing the comic strip Mark Trail - Wikimedia

Dodd and others working on “Mark Trail”: The Mark Trail studio was on the second floor of Ed Dodd’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in the Lost Forest at the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, Georgia. At work are (l. to r.) Ed Dodd, Jack Elrod, Tom Hill and Rhett Carmichael. The 130-acre Lost Forest was the model for the fictional Lost Forest National Forest in the strip. Dodd’s house was located on Marsh Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River. Wikimedia photo and caption

  • Sadly, Dodd’s Lost Forest was completely burned in 1996.  I can find no information on any of the studio surviving the fire (anyone know differently?).   Dodd was honored in 1991 with the naming of the Mark Trail Wilderness Area, in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
  • According to the official information at King Features Syndicate, Jack Elrod first assisted Dodd, then in 1978 took over the creative writing and drawing of the strip when Dodd retired and Tom Hill, who had done the Sunday strips, died.  Elrod was a Boy Scout when he first met Dodd, in Dodd’s role as Scoutmaster.  The Scouting links are strong in this strip.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Chamblee54, for showing the way to the Georgia State University photographs.

[Editor’s note: Georgia State Library keeps changing the link url on the photograph; if you find a higher resolution version, please, please let us know where it is!]


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