Daniel Carter Beard

Daniel Carter "Uncle Dan" Beard (June 21, 1850 – June 11, 1941) was an American illustrator, author, youth leader, and social reformer who founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, which Beard later merged with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Daniel Carter Beard
Born(1850-06-21)June 21, 1850
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
DiedJune 11, 1941(1941-06-11) (aged 90)
Suffern, New York, United States
Resting placeBrick Church Cemetery, Spring Valley, New York
Other namesUncle Dan
OccupationIllustrator, author, social reformer
Known forFounding pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America

Early life

Beard was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, into a family of artists.[2] As a youth, he explored the woods and made sketches of nature. His father was the artist James Henry Beard and his mother was Mary Caroline (Carter) Beard. His uncle was the artist William Holbrook Beard. He lived at 322 East Third Street in Covington, Kentucky near the Licking River, where he learned the stories of Kentucky pioneer life.

He started an early career as an engineer and surveyor.[3] He attended art school in New York City. He wrote a series of articles for St. Nicholas Magazine that later formed the basis for The American Boy's Handy Book. He was a member of the Student Art League, where he met and befriended Ernest Thompson Seton in 1883. He illustrated a number of books for Mark Twain, and for other authors such as Ernest Crosby.

In 1908 while living in Redding, Connecticut, Beard was among those on hand to welcome Mark Twain upon his arrival to the author's new villa Stormfield.[4]

Beard became the editor of Recreation magazine and wrote a monthly column for youth. He founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, basing it on American frontier traditions. He later moved his column to Woman's Home Companion. After conflicts with a new editor, he moved to the Pictorial Review. Since Women's Home Companion retained the rights to the name, he simply renamed the organization to Boy Pioneers of America.[5]


Beard merged his organization into the Boy Scouts of America when it was founded in 1910. Beard became one of the first National Scout Commissioners of the Boy Scouts and served it for 30 years. He later became the editor of Boys' Life magazine, the BSA official magazine, and wrote a monthly column for youth. The work of both Beard and Ernest Thompson Seton are in large part the basis of the Traditional Scouting movement.[6][7]

Beard also helped his sister organize the Camp Fire Girls. Beard was a Freemason, initiated in the Mariners Lodge No. 67 (New York City).[8][9] He was also an award for Masonic Scouters has been named in his honor.

B Flushing, New York, which is believed to be one of the oldest continuously chartered Boy Scout Troops in the United States. Beard became an Eagle Scout at the age of 64 on February 15, 1915.[10]

Prior to the establishment of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Dan Beard was recipient of the only "gold Eagle badge" awarded at the Second National Training Conference of Scout Executives held in 1922 in Blue Ridge, North Carolina.[2]

Dan Beard was also involved with the Culver Academies' summer camp program for many years, which used his "Sons of Daniel Boone" program. This program still exists as the Academy's Culver Woodcraft Camp.

Beard died on June 11, 1941, shortly before his 91st birthday at his home Brooklands in Suffern, New York.[11] He was buried near his home at the Brick Church Cemetery in Spring Valley, New York.[12][13] The National Program Director of the Boy Scouts of America, E. Urner Goodman, was selected to be in charge of the beloved youth leader's funeral in Suffern. An estimated 2,000 people lined the funeral route to the cemetery in Monsey, New York, where 127 Boy Scouts formed an honor guard and assisted with traffic control.[14]

Honors and legacy

The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge carries I-471 across the Ohio River.[15] A life-size bronze statue of Daniel Carter Beard and a Boy Scout, created by world-renowned sculptor Kenneth Bradford, stands at 322 East 3rd Street in Covington, Kentucky, Beard's boyhood home. The nearby Daniel Carter Beard Boyhood Home is now a National Historic Landmark in the Riverside Drive Historic District.[16]

Junior High School 189 Daniel Carter Beard is located in Flushing, Queens, New York; the Daniel Carter Beard Mall is a nearby park. The Daniel Carter Beard Elementary School is located in Chicago, Illinois.

The Dan Beard Council is the administrative body of the BSA in the Greater Cincinnati area.[17]

Many Scout camps have sites named after Beard including Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Forestburg Scout Reservation in Forestburg, New York and Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Maryland and Tama Hills in Tokyo, Japan. Other camps have programs named after Beard, such as the first-year camper program at McKee Scout Reservation in Kentucky.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County, Illinois, has long had a campground called Camp Dan Beard.

Freemasons in the U.S. offer the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award for Masons who are involved with Scouting. The BSA offers the James E. West Fellowship Award; an advanced level is the 1910 Society which in turn includes levels of contributions—the Daniel Carter Beard is recognized for a gift of at least $100,000.

Mount Dan Beard, a 10,082-foot (3,073 m) peak in the Alaska Range near Denali in Denali National Park and Preserve, is named after Beard.[18]


  • The American Boy's Handy Book (1882) (1903) still in print
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain, (1889), illustrator, still in print
  • The American Boy's Book of Sport (1890)
  • The American Claimant by Mark Twain, (1892), illustrator, still in print
  • Moonlight and Six Feet of Romance (1892) still in print
  • The Outdoor Handy Book (1896) still in print
  • Following the Equator (1897) contributing illustrator
  • The Jack of All Trades: New Ideas for American Boys (1900) still in print
  • The Field and Forest Handy Book: New Ideas for Out of Doors (1906) still in print
  • Handicraft for Outdoor Boys (1906)
  • Animal Book and Campfire Stories (1907)
  • The Boy Pioneers: Sons of Daniel Boone (1909)
  • Boat Building, and Boating(1912) still in print
  • Shelters, shacks, and shanties. C. Scribner's Sons. 1920. Retrieved August 24, 2012. still in print[19]
  • The American Boy's Book of Bugs, Butterflies and Beetles (1915)
  • 654.9-001_CoverThe American Boy's Book of Signs, Signals and Symbols] (1918)
  • The American Boy's Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft (1920) still in print
  • The American Boy's Book of Wild Animals (1921)
  • The Black Wolf-Pack (1922)[20]
  • American Boy's Book of Birds and Brownies of the Woods (1923)
  • Do It Yourself (1925)
  • Wisdom of the Woods (1926)
  • Buckskin Book For Buckskin Men and Boys (1929)
  • Hardly A Man is Now Alive (1939)

See also


  1. White, James Terry; Derby, George (1930). "Beard, Daniel Carter". The National Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: J. T. White. 33: 373–374.
  2. Rowan, Edward L. (2005). To Do My Best: James E. West and the History of the Boy Scouts of America. Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. ISBN 0-9746479-1-8.
  3. "Daniel C. Beard". Ohio History Central. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
  4. Beard, Dan (January–June 1910). Mark Twain as a Neighbor. Review of Reviews and World's Work: An International Magazine. 41. pp. 705–708.
  5. Scott, David C. (June 2006). "Ernest Thompson Seton and BSA - The Partnership Collapse of 1915". International Scouting Collectors Association. 6 (2): 10.
  6. "Traditional Scouting". American Traditional Scouting. Retrieved July 18, 2007.
  7. Rowan, Edward L. (December 2006). "Dan Beard, Founder of the First Boy Scout Society". International Scouting Collectors Association. 6 (4): 28–29.
  8. "List of famous freemasons". freemasonry.bcy.ca. Archived from the original on October 4, 2001. Retrieved September 30, 2018. East Nashville No. 560, TN [19]
  9. "Famous Freemasons in the course of history". stjohnslodgedc.org. Archived from the original on November 15, 2015. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  10. "Online Eagle Directory: Beard, Daniel Carter". National Eagle Scout Association. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  11. June 12, 1941, New York Herald Tribune
  12. Brick Church Cemetery aka Reformed Church Cemetery, Beard Family Plot - (Section D, Division 1, Plot 1, Grave 6),221 Brick Church Rd (Brick Church Rd and Hwy 306), Spring Valley NY 10977, 845-354-6785
  13. Daniel Carter Beard at Find a Grave
  14. "Scouts Officiate at Beard Funeral" (PDF). The New York Times. June 16, 1941. Retrieved January 15, 2008.
  15. "Bridge to open". Kentucky New Era. October 28, 1976. p. 8. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  16. "Beard, Daniel C., Boyhood Home". National Historic Landmarks. National Park Service. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2007.
  17. "Dan Beard Council". Archived from the original on March 21, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  18. "Mount Dan Beard". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved April 12, 2013.

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