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Cub Scout Handbooks

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Items from the Past

Books and Other Printed Material

FIRST EDITION WOLF CUBBOOK  1930-1935

Cover art by Andy Janson. The first and last to be titled “The Boy’s Cubbook.” 128 pages, 4 1/2” x 7”. Illustrations were ink drawings by Andy Janson.

 

The long-awaited BSA Boy’s Cubbook was not just another adaptation of the British Wolf-Cub’s Handbook.  Akela, Baloo, and Mowgli from Kipling’s “Jungle Book” were transferred to North America, with Native American references replacing the original Indian flavor.  The tests and award schemes were completely rewritten.

FIRST EDITION WOLF CUBBOOK 1935-1946

Cover art by Andy Janson. A notice of compliance with war production guidelines started with 4/1944. The 11/1936 was the only cover with “Price 20 Cents” The last printing dropped “Published by” and the address.

 

A color section was included in this Cubbook. Chief Scout Executive James E. West thought the color sections would inspire boys to wear the uniform properly and strive to earn the recognitions. These sections were a casualty of the War Effort, and did not return for many years. Cubs BSA became Cub Scouts in 1945 but the name change did not appear in the First Edition.

THIRD EDITION WOLF CUB SCOUT BOOK 1954-1965

Cover art by Don Ross. Cover A has a plain spine. Cover B has "Wolf" printed on the spine. 188 pages, 5 1/2" x 8". Illustrations were mostly the same two color (brick red and black) linear cartoons that appeared in the Second Edition.

 

The second edition that had proved a little too simple for nine-year-olds was a little too difficult for eight-year-olds. The requirements and text were further simplified.

FOURTH EDITION WOLF CUB SCOUT BOOK 1967-1977

Boy Scouts of America” appears on the cover for the first time since 1946. 194 pages, 5 3/8” x 8”. Illustrations were two color sketches in various colors with black.

 

Several major changes to the Cub Scouting program required a new handbook, especially a realignment of Cub Scout entrance requirements to grade level rather than age. That meant boys slightly less than 7 1/2 could become Cub Scouts, and required a further revision of the reading level of

the text. A note in the parent’s supplement advised that some boys could

not read well enough to understand the book without some assistance. In 1974 Bobcat became a rank for the first time.

SECOND EDITION  1948-1953

Cover art by Don Ross. 156 pages. 5 1/2” x 8”. Illustrations were two color (brick red and black) linear cartoons by Don Ross.

 

The program name changed to “Cub Scouting.”  The new book was a rewrite for eight year old boys, however the age change was delayed until Arthur Schuck became Chief Scout Executive in 1949.

FIFTH EDITION  1978-1985

At first a pamphlet, it was later produced as a bound book with a spine. The only cover not to show a wolf (ignoring the badge). Cover A is a pamphlet, B a book with the 50th Anniversary logo and index on the back. C has no logo. 160 pages until reissued as a full book with 176 pages starting 1/1980. 5 1/4” x 8”. Illustrations were black ink drawings. by an un-credited artist.

 

The “Improved Scouting Program” introduced in 1972, proved highly unpopular and cost BSA a significant percentage of its members. This Wolf Cub Scout Book and co-current Boy Scout Handbook restored the traditional flavor and challenges of Scouting while holding on to emphases on racial and cultural harmony and environmentally-friendly low-impact camping. The financial slump initially resulted in the fifth edition being released as a pamphlet. With the program turnaround came financial turnaround and the last printings were in book form.

SIXTH EDITION HANDBOOK 1986-2000

Cover art by Robert Depew. The last hand painted cover, and the first foray into a more cartoon oriented style to appeal to an even younger Wolf Cub Scout. 224 pages, 5 1/4” x 8”. Illustrations are paintings and natural color ink drawings by Robert Depew.

 

Again, age requirements were adjusted, and the Wolf Cub Scout Book adjusted with them. Because a boy could become a Cub Scout if he completed the first grade or was eight years old, it was possible for a boy as young as 6 1/2 to join Cub Scouting.

SEVENTH EDITION HANDBOOK 2000-2002

Cover art by Robert Depew. The first computer assisted cover: version two

of Akela looks a bit more tame.  231 pages, 5 1/4” x 8”. Illustrations are paintings and natural color ink drawings by Robert Depew.

 

 

EIGHTH EDITION HANDBOOK 2002-

Art by Robert Depew. Version three of Akela is a bit more “cute.” For the

first time, Cub Scout books are called “handbooks” in their title. 244 pages,

5 1/4” x 8”. Illustrations are paintings and natural color ink drawings by Robert Depew.

 

The first edition called “Handbook” reflects closer integration between Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. Updated for relevance, appropriateness, ease of use, and perceived challenge to the reader. “Integrated character connections” refer to Cub Scouting’s 12 core values.