Thrift store find -- retro Boy Scout handbook from 1943

Yesterday I sweet-talked my husband into stopping at a local thrift store. (The Radio Shack next door helped.) With only 5 minutes to shop, I headed straight for the books. I found a stack of old Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys. Then an old, cloth-bound book caught my eye. 

Can you guess why?

Was it the large green question mark? Maybe it was the title -- "How Book of Cubbing." Hunh? Should that last word be "clubbing"? No, it's "cubbing," as in "being a Cub Scout." But what about "How"? Doesn't it need a "to"? As in "How-to Book"?
Boy scouts from 1943
Boys will be boys. And how!
Oh. It's a pun. A politically incorrect one.

There are lots of other strange images in this handbook from 1943. I grabbed it from the shelf with murder in mind, intending to chop it up to make a Kindle case. But it's too precious, both as a historical document and a source of kitsch. 

The photos are black and white, which adds to their creepy crime-scene flavor. I don't want to read the explanations. It's more fun to guess at what's going on. Like here.
Boy scouts from 1943
Leadership training in Den 2 has taken a decidedly dark turn.
The book contains lots of line drawings. Some illustrate "Den Doings."
The victory garden shows that the book was published during WWII. The two boys goofing off show that kids haven't changed much in 70 years.

Other illustrations show the kinds of things young boys were into, circa 1940. There are home-made games and silly posters.
home-made games

home-made games

A whole chapter is devoted to crafts. Like wood carving.
And bone carving.
And horn carving. Yep, I said "horn."
A boy can't have too many neckerchief slides, after all. And slides made from formerly living things are especially attractive.

I wonder what I'll find in the other parts of the book? Like Chapter XI: "Songs and Yells." Oh boy. Oh boy scout!


  1. Nothing like a good old book! I have zillions...and used book sales are one of my favorite pasttimes...P.S. I also work in a library!!! Oh, for the love of books!!!

  2. So you don't mind the idea of cutting them up to make something new out of them? Although I won't be cutting this one up -- it's too cool as is.

  3. I found a couple of boy scout books and a couple of old girl scout books I need to scan got them for two dollars each.

  4. Bridget -- I want to scan more pages from the book I got too. It's such a piece of history.

  5. I would love to see more of this book. My son is a Boy Scout and this is really cool.


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