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Portrait of Ernest Thompson Seton

Ernest Thompson Seton

Ernest Thompson Seton was born in South Shields, Durham, England but emigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 6.  His original name was Ernest Seton Thompson.  

His sketches as a youth won awards.  Consequently, he was sent to study art in London at The Royal Academy School of Painting and Sculpture.  Late he went to Paris for further study.  In 1881, he became the Naturalist for the government of Manitoba.

The Ladies Home Journal magazine asked him to write a series on woodcraft for boys.  The first article appeared in May, 1902.  On the first day of July in 1902, he founded the Woodcraft Indians.  He wrote a book, The Birchbark Rolls of the Woodcraft Indians as a guide for the program.  This book was sent to Baden-Powell in July of 1906 as a precursor to Seton's visit to England for a series of fall lectures.  On October 30th, the two men met at the Savoy Hotel..

He was Chief Scout from 1910 to 1915.  The original 1910 handook included 50 pages from Baden-Powell and 100 pages of Seton's writings.

Seton developed a plan for incorporating younger boys into Scouting in 1911.  Called "The Cubs of America", it used the bear cub as its symbol.  Disagreements among Scouting's founders over the value of the new program caused it to be set aside.

Seton had a falling out with James West and left the movement in 1915.  He disagreed with the military style set by Baden-Powell and West.  Seton then founded the Woodcraft League of America.  He later came back to help organize Cubbing for the younger boys.

Seton received the seventh Silver Buffalo award in 1926; the first year it was offered.






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