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Boy Scout Fieldbooks

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Items from the Past

Books and Other Printed Material

First Edition—1944/1967 Printings 1-14

Author credit went to both James E. West, Chief Scout, and William “Bill” Hillcourt.  Cover art was by BSA artist Don Ross, who also did the cover art for the Scout Handbook. The book is lavishly illustrated with black-and-white photographs. Some photos were updated as uniform styles changed. Chapters are called "Pow-wows". The back cover of many printings had an index listing references to all Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class advancement requirements.

Second Edition 1967/1972—Printings 1-5—Cover 1

After letting the Fieldbook be out of print for 8 years, BSA brought out a Second Edition in 1967. No author credit is given. The book is also lavishly illustrated with black-and-white photos, and has a brief "Quick Reference Key" on the back cover. There were two cover variants, plus the BSA allowed  Workman Publishing to produce a commercially available version with a third cover. The commercial version also included a 16-page color insert of Norman Rockwell Scouting paintings.

Third Edition 1984/2004

This edition switches to full-color photos as well as line drawings. This book includes major emphasis on low-impact camping, and includes up-to-date information on technology and techniques.  No credit is given to the author.  The cover is color painting of older Scout with staff and scenes of rappelling, skiing, cycling, canoeing, by Jeff Segler

Fourth Edition 2004/2014

“Fieldbook” Following the changes that began in the third edition, the Boy Scouts of America continues to stress the importance of our impact on the earth. Chapters in this present edition include: Leadership and Trek Preparation; Leaving No Trace; Trek Adventures; Appreciating Our Environment. This book can be a valuable guide to everyone who enjoys the great outdoors.

Fifth Edition 2014/Current

Fieldbook: Scouting’s Manual of Basic and Advanced Skills for Outdoor Adventure

 

The latest edition contains a tremendous amount of outdoor knowledge within a book that is small enough to fit in a backpack in the field.  Written by Robert Birkby, an Eagle Scout and past director of conservation at Philmont Scout Ranch. A lifelong Scouting and outdoor enthusiast, Birkby is a mountaineer, long-distance backpacker, outdoor educator, and leading authority on environmental stewardship.

 

The Fifth Edition marks the first time a new edition is also available in digital format.

Second Edition 1973/1984 —Printing 6-14—Cover 2

“Fieldbook For Boys And Men” Almost a million copies of the first edition were used by Scouts and Scouters. The second edition captured the spirit and flavor of the first and had the latest information on outdoor living. It was carefully planned, written and edited by field and stream experts of the Boy Scouts of America, and it was illustrated with over 1,700 photographs and drawings. There were two different covers for this edition.