Glass Town Wars by Celia Rees – a gaming modern take on the Bronte ImagiNations

IMG_1265

Zombies, attack helicopters, djinn, Faeries, video games tech, Napoleonic riflemen … what more could you want from a book?

The Bronte sisters and brother wrote some lively but fragmented ImagiNations stories full of battles, conquests, intrigue and romance. A Napoleonic Regency Georgian era Game of Thrones

One of the problems in using the surviving Bronte fragments of these tiny handwritten books is that they are very disjointed, only some sections have survived and it takes a long while to sort out who is who, with characters with multiple names. Not promising for someone like me who prefers a simple uncomplicated narrative … but Celia Rees pulls this off cleverly in her fast paced historical fantasy adventure story.

This book was a chance find looking up the ‘Brontes’ and also ‘Wargames’ search terms on my local library catalogue. My interest in this book was that I have been slowly piecing together bits of these stories as ImagiNations gaming scenarios: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

Some of my recent Bronte ImagiNations figures repaints from Airfix ACW figures

Celia Rees has written a young adult novel that, using multiple layers of narrative, wraps the broken and fragmented Bronte ImagiNations narrative in with a modern outer story of young techno wizardry and skullduggery.

Tom, a modern teenage boy in a coma,  is watched over in hospital by a quiet girl called Lucy. He is projected by a crooked teenage bitcoin tycoon ‘techno wizard’ Milo Mindbender back from a modern teenage world of hospitals, YouTube, hashtags and social media into a painfully real ‘virtual world’ of a Napoleonic battle zone to meet one of the feisty Bronte female warrior characters, Lady AGA or Augusta.

There is a suggestion that Lucy has been reading Wuthering Heights to Tom whilst he is in his coma.

Readers of Sharpe novels would enjoy this opening Napoleonic skirmishing section. There are later on some wild rough Scots, more 45 Jacobite than Napoleonic, from Sneachiesland who turn into Rogue’s Revolutionary Guard, intent on sacking the capital.

But what if you could actually be inside the game?” argues the villain Mindbender.

How? A secret untested prototype little virtual reality gizmo or gadget called the Echeneis slipped into Tom’s ear is involved, developed for gaming by Mindbender. Unfortunately this is an experimental VR (virtual reality) so intense where you can feel pain, be wounded and potentially die … Game Over for the hashtag #boyinacoma?

The Bronte ImagiNations were inspired by the gift to brother young Branwell Bronte of the Twelves, a dozen wooden Napoleonic soldiers.

Some of the Bronte male characters are borrowed like Percy ‘Rogue’ Duke of Northangerland and his sometime allies or rivals, Lord Charles Wellesley and Douro, both versions of Wellington, along with many minor Bronte characters, are also featured in the peculiar Colonial Tropical Africa / Yorkshire of their Glasstown and Angria ImagiNations.

An epilogue sets out what elements and characters Celia Rees has borrowed from the Bronte family ImagiNations tiny books and the Bronte family’s real lives.

Celia Rees picks up the dystopian, Steampunk elements of the Bronte world and it mixes in well as part of the  science fiction or fantasy genre. There are ‘Fairish’  lands and Underground ‘Deeps’ which bring an edge of Tolkien, pursuit by violent desert storm-like Jinn Spirit Winds and a clunky bit of shamanism. Probably a bit of Yorkshire folklore in here too.

No plot spoilers here but expect the unexpected …

There are small skirmishes with raiding parties with a Reiving medieval feel but made up of Napoleonic troops, laying waste to Augusta’s Northern lands on Percy Rogue’s behalf (he of the Byronic black horse, black banners and black locks). These troops are ambushed by the flint tipped arrows of Robin Goodfellow and the Fairish peoples of the Summer Lord. Flint against Flintlock. Interesting gaming scenarios …

The Capital Glass Town or Verdopolis is riven with revolution, political unrest, Luddite riots and demonstrations, bloodily put down in the manner of the Peterloo Massacre and Chartist Unrest of the 1830s (not far from the events of Charlotte Bronte’s lesser known novel Shirley). A guillotine and echoes of the French Revolution appear.

The multiple layers of modern life, video games and suggestions that we are inside the Bronte dreams of ImagiNations fictions are occasionally alluded to by characters as a kind of dream logic or jarring. The neighbouring countries so different from each other? “the different lands take after their founders“.

One character questions: “I sometimes think that none of it is well, real. Glasstown and all of its people, myself included – we’re mere ideas in someone else’s brain. Part of some other creature’s game…”

There is a fair amount of Regency Ball type behaviour in the Royal Court. Not quite Pride and Prejudice but keep a look out for zombies … well, this adds some Gothic elements.

Later on the Tron or Jumanji film elements of falling into and having to play your way out of a video game are developed and we also enter into the mind, imagination or company of a character who may or may not be Emily Bronte.  Attack helicopters also make a surprise gaming appearance!

The genesis of this book is discussed by Celia here, with inspiration from an attractive Napoleonic rifleman ceramic statuette

http://the-history-girls.blogspot.com/2018/10/glass-town-wars-and-brontes-celia-rees.html

Other similar modern fiction takes on the Bronte Imaginations

An enjoyable and surprising book, much less cluttered and clunky than a lot of the Gondal fan fictions on the internet, which cleverly exploits the gaps and confusions of missing sections of the Bronte’s famous little books.

Jen Burdoo the gamer librarian from the USA introduced me to The Return of the Twelves, an award winning and enjoyable but now forgotten 1963 children’s book by British author Pauline Clarke about the original Twelves, the Bronte toy soldiers that had survived through time, kept alive through the power of the Bronte children’s imagination but lost and forgotten.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_and_the_Genii

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1472754.The_Return_of_the_Twelves

Last year also saw the publication of Catherynne M. Valente’s hardback doorstep of a book The Great Glass Town Game which I got stuck on halfway through – another attempt needed to read this Alice and Nonsense style inspired Bronte children fantasy http://www.catherynnemvalente.com. It has mixed reviews, often partly on account of its length https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26810460-the-glass-town-game

One to return to …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 31 August 2019

Adamstown or Angria? Vintage Airfix ACW Repaired

The kind gift by Tony Adams of a bag of Airfix OO/HO figures from the 1960s has pushed aside a few other units of the painting table (poor old Peter Laings).

To make space for more units of the Miniature Wood Screw Army, Tony sent me a mixed bag of bashed and sometimes damaged 1960s Airfix plastic https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/a-1960s-airfix-owl-pellet/

IMG_1164
Penny based, before repainting and flocking 

I was intrigued by some of the colour schemes and set about repairing some of the American Civil War figures first. Hats of reddy brown, yellow and blue as painted by Tony many years ago were kept, refreshed or patched where needed. On a ragtag Confederate Unit, who would notice a bit of patching?

IMG_1295
Flying the old Confederate flag, the Adamstown Volunteers.
IMG_1296
A ragged firing line … in many senses of the word.

I had in mind a scratch unit that could be Confederates but with a different sunrise flag could pass as Angrian units in my ImagiNations refighting of the Bronte ImagiNations of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

IMG_1294
Angria Arise! The Rising Sun banner transforms these Confederates into 1830s and 1840s Bronte ImagiNations  scruffy  Angrian infantry.
IMG_1297
Tony Adams’ original paint colours of yellow and red-brown hats is mirrored in the colours of the Angrian National Flag, according to the Brontes.

A mixture of penny bases and square mounting card was used. I started mounting them on pennies as part of an email chat with Tony about Flocking and Basing then remembered looking at the Battle of Pine Ridge ACW Skirmish that all my other vintage Airfix were on card: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/airfix-acw-battle-of-pine-ridge-river-crossing/

I had run out of pennies anyway.

IMG_1298
The mixture of penny and square bases is not too noticeable. Neither is the Southern ragtag mix of red, yellow, blue, grey shades of hats and uniform.
IMG_1299
Smart ‘Blue and White’ ImagiNations 19th Century troops. Airfix ACW Union infantry, rifles repaired. First version French Foreign Legion Officer.  The nucleus of a new Regiment.
IMG_1300
A range of 1960s First version Airfix,  based and basic painted – work in progress.  1 and 2 Afrika Korps, US Marines 3, hat amendment to Eighth Army  officer 4, Infantry Combat  Group officer, German Infantry officer or mini Hitler, RAF Kit crew.

So there we have some new life breathed into some old figures, along with a few repaired rifles. I bet they thought in their tiny increasingly fragile plastic heads that their fighting days were over forever.

IMG_1158

The spare Foreign Legion and Japanese in the box and that I have stashed away could well become more Zouaves or Militia,
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/confused-by-zouaves-some-airfix-acw-paint-conversions/

although in my mind they might be needed as ‘Japanese’ as I have ideas for an updated Gondal or Gaaldine type Bronte ImagiNations Pacific based island which is invaded by Japanese style troops 100 years after the Bronte’s  1830s / 1840s ImagiNation settings. A chance to use my spare Airfix first version Eighth Army figures as defenders (they are wearing shorts – perfect for the tropics) or use the ACW figures above as the Island militia.

I have more vintage Airfix ACW from a previous tin gift and ‘blue box’ charity shop finds to paint and add. Packaging I remember as an Airfix child.
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/vintage-airfix-tin-hoard/
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/another-vintage-airfix-hoard/

Not sure which side or nation these hoard figures  will eventually represent.

The duel flag system works well. For the cost of one figure, you get a whole new unit or regiment.

More vintage Airfix nostalgia posts on the way in a bashed old 1982 Airfix catalogue that I kept.

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 28 August 2019.

The First Commando Raid of WW2 26 August 1939 – 5 days too early!

Crossposted From Sidetracked, my railway / gaming blog https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2019/08/26/invading-poland-one-station-at-a-time-but-a-few-days-early-ww2-telegram-from-the-jablonkow-incident/

BP, Tramping, Spies and Steam: Steam and Countryside Fair 2019

4529EE4B-B749-4DC6-94DB-62AF649C60CD

A clever way to display your Britain’s vintage lead farm, which I spotted  at a recent West Country steam and countryside fair, full of steam traction, threshing machines and vintage tractors.

Rain flap on the gazebo at the front, anti-pilfer netting, caravan at the back.

IMG_1281

A  relaxing way to show your treasures.

I was flagging by the time I found this display to chat to the owner (who was no doubt having a cuppa in the back). I was also fending off roving Mad Hatters and White Rabbits on stilts at the time.  Theatricals! But that’s another story …

Here is my Steam Fair Haul 2019: https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/steam-fair-haul-2019/

249F33A7-453D-4A4F-8C41-38AE82350E11
Close up – The non-PC rare Village Idiot and the colourful tramp with spotty bundle.

Tramping
This week I was presented with a little gift from my family who spotted him on  a market stall in town. It was this lovely John Hill / Johillco tramp with red and white spotty  handkerchief.

What could the tramp be in a gaming scenario?

IMG_1277

Maybe the tramp is  good cover for a spy, someone from out of town who can come and go, chat to all whilst begging a little bit of  bread and some cheese and slowly gather information without being noticed.

This photo story is inspired by the tiny ‘photo drama’ blog posts of Alan the Tradgardmastre, https://tradgardland.blogspot.com
Allan Tidmarsh at http://dorset1940.blogspot.com/2019/07/something-in-woods.html (Scouts!)
and Tony Kitchen at Tin Soldiering On http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com/2019/08/a-cunning-plan.html

IMG_1286
The tramp is spotted by a passing Boy Scout.  The Boy Scout has noticed this tramp before hanging around near the local aerodrome and army camp.
IMG_1287
The scout reports his suspicions to a passing Scoutmaster, who just happens to be Baden Powell. Coincidence?
IMG_1288
Hopefully the tramp doesn’t spot Baden Powell or the Boy Scout. Have you spotted them?
IMG_1289
Master of self defence, BP is already prepared to tackle this character and will send the Boy Scout for reinforcements as needed.
IMG_1290
Before they can arrest him, the tramp rushes into the bushes and with a quick turn of the coat, transforms himself with a quick change into … master of disguise and retired sleuth Sherlock Holmes. He had been testing the security of local defence establishments.

The characters: BP Scoutmaster by Dorset Soldiers, Sherlock Holmes by Tradition and Boy Scout Vintage Britain’s 54mm hollowcast.

I was reminded of the tramp story mentioned in Scouting for Boys Part 1 and also by the final Sherlock Holmes story set in WW1,  His Last Bow.

IMG_1313

I was also reminded of Baden Powell’s book My Life As as Spy (1915) published during WW1 where he showed how he concealed maps within nature drawings of leaves, butterflies  and moths when scouting the Balkans in the late Nineteenth Century. Download the book at: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15715

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-founder-of-the-boy-scouts-hid-maps-in-insect-drawings

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/founder-boy-scouts-was-spy-he-used-nature-help-his-cause

Scouting Wide games posts: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/wide-games-scouting-games-page/
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, August 2019.

BP BPS Blog Post Script
Maudlin Jack Tar and Ian Joppy Jopson commented on the tramp espionage angle and tramp signs: here is the tramp signs published in the 1908 Scouting for Boys and 1912 Girl Guide handbook How Girls Can Help to Build Up The Empire.
IMG_1318.PNG

The Girl Guide version 1912 has the added safety warning for unchaperoned young lady Scouts: “Be cautious in asking the way. Passers-by will often tell you wrong, and if an enemy, they would purposefully mislead you.”

Designed as a universal language of scouting, mention is made of hostile and ‘Foreign Scouts’ or Guides were presumably other patrols from out of area rather than overseas ones.

The “I have gone home sign” (circle with a central dot) is touchingly inscribed or carved on the gravestone of Baden Powell (d.1941) and his wife Olave (died 1977/78) in Kenya.

IMG_1319

Excellent article mentioned by Alan Gruber on the Spycyclist stories and rumours of the late 1930s attached to wandervogeling Hitler Youth (which took over ‘officially’ from prewar German scouting) visiting Britain on supposedly friendly visits to British scout groups. Surely some game scenarios there!

Black Cowboys, Time Tunnels, Earworms and the Old Town Road

IMG_1247
More realistic 54mm cowboys (Pound Store copies of Airfix)?

Gaming and pulp scenarios here: Time tunnels, black cowboys, American western history and myth,  earworm songs and music videos, all on my sister blog post Pound Store Plastic Warriors:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/08/16/black-cowboys-on-the-old-town-road/

IMG_1255

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN 15 August 2019. Boogety, Boogety,  Boogety!

More original Scouting Handbooks – Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America

IMG_1216

More research for the  Scouting Wide Games on the tabletop project: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/wide-games-scouting-games-page/

Two new Scouting handbook reprints have arrived, around the time I  finished reading How Girls can Help to Build the Empire – The Handbook for Girl Guides (1912)

1A314778-A7D8-43E3-8983-71806288B2AC
Scouting – for girls, 1912

The Girl Guide 1912 Handbook was updated by Baden Powell in 1918 as Girl Guiding. The last BP update in 1931 before his death in 1941, taking into account women’s war work in WW1, can be found here with all the added later guide or ‘Brownie’ information added onto an edited down, shorter Girl Guide sections http://www.thedump.scoutscan.com/girlguiding.pdf

What differences if any would I need to make to incorporate Girl Scouts into the Wide Games?

What differences if any would it make if I set these Wide Games in America or outside Britain?

I spent part of the recent weekends and days, some too hot for hobby painting, in skim reading through two affordable new paperback reprints of early scouting books from America. These were The Boy Scouts of America Scout’s Handbook 1911 and the Girl Scouts of America How Girls Can Help Their Country – 1913 Handbook for Girl Scouts.

9E8A6E4F-FF32-40D6-8DA7-ABE4212EFBF4

The Boys Scouts Of America Handbook (1911] is a chunky book, longer at 400 pages (plus adverts of scouting kit) than the British 1908 original (350 pages) and partly written by the first (and only) American Chief Scout Ernest Thompson Seton, naturalist and author. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Thompson_Seton

CD4F41E4-9D49-43C7-A263-5BB59CDDA6E2
Peace Scouts? My 1:72 American WW1 Infantry by Airfix transformed  into Boy Scouts due to a similar uniform.

The Boy Scouts of America uniform is remarkably like the US Army one, as you can see from this Handbook Advert.

IMG_1203
Almost a WW1 Doughboy uniform by Eisner “Manufacturers of US Army and National Guard Uniforms”   – Boy Scout of America  Handbook 1911

The Boy Scouts of America 1911 handbook is much thicker than the slim ‘British’ or original Baden Powell ‘Scouting for Boys’, first published in serial form then collected into a 1908 book, which also incorporates many of the notes for scoutmasters or Patrol leaders.

IMG_1217

The American 1911 Boy Scout version is full of wildlife information, Wood Craft and Camp Craft, a whole extra 90+ pages of American wildlife, geology notes, fishing advice, fungi foraging, much of it by Ernest Thompson Seton. There is even a (Nature) Conservation badge in 1911! Seton’s debt to Baden Powell is acknowledged in the Wide Games section p.305 with a footnote: “The Games from lion Hunting to Hare and Hounds are from General Baden Powell.” These include both Siberian Man Hunt, Snow Fort and Smugglers Over The Border. I wonder what in turn Baden Powell’s debt to Seton was?

For the Boy Scout in America who could afford it, this must have been an informative handbook and reference.

IMG_1218
The Scoutmaster’s Handbook Boy Scouts of America 1911

There are ‘civics’ sections on a selective summary of American History, America’s past and recent Wars, Abraham Lincoln, the history of the flag, as well as (Seton’s) references to Native American culture. Slavery is briefly mentioned as a cause of the Civil War.

IMG_1213
Girl Scouts of America Handbook 1913

My copy of the Boy Scouts of America Handbook is an inexpensive modern paperback Dover reprint of the 1911 original https://store.doverpublications.com/0486439917.html

Warning! Just reading the list of Dover Americana reprints makes me want to overspend in their online shop.

You can find the 1911 original free online at: https://archive.org/stream/boyscoutshandboo29558gup/pg29558.txt

The  Scout Master’s Handbook 1911 is here:  https://archive.org/details/handbookforscou00amergoog/page/n3

Interesting fact: Every U.S. president since President Taft has been elected by the Executive Board as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Teddy Roosevelt wrote an endorsement in the 1911 Handbook. This honorary position is still the case in the age of Obama and Trump.
https://voiceofscouting.org/the-presidents-and-scouting

IMG_1205
Native American derived Patrol names and symbols, Boy Scouts of America Handbook 1911

Black Scouts, White Scouts?

Fraternisation in Scouting activities between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts was not officially encouraged, not in the 1910s of America or the British Empire.

446F7536-3E46-41AB-82B4-2BFDD496B6BB
My Tiny lead Scouts, you are not listening … fraternisation is not encouraged.

The debate continues today on inclusion and Co-Ed, Girl only, Boy only troops today http://theconversation.com/what-history-tells-us-about-boy-scouts-and-inclusion-74805

I was also quite curious how the segregation issue affected early scouting in America. Native American culture is referenced, but not Hispanic or what we would now call Black or African American culture. Would this reflect what happened around the British Empire?

Could I have black scouts or African  American Scouts alongside white scouts if setting the Wide Game in the early Twentieth Century America?

Protests over the inclusion of African American Boy Scouts  arose early on in the Boy Scouts of America’s history.

When one of its founders W.D. Boyce departed [to set up the eventually clearly segregated Lone Scout movement], he:  “turned the Boy Scout corporation over to the members of the Executive Board with the stipulation that the Boy Scouts would not discriminate on the basis of race or creed.  The BSA established the position that African Americans should be included, but that local communities should follow the same policies that they followed in the school systems.”

“Thus, much of the American South as well as many major northern communities had segregated programs with “colored troops” until the late 1940s. Some troops in the South threatened to leave BSA and burn their uniforms if African American Scouts were permitted, but [James] West was key in overcoming those obstacles.” Reference:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Boy_Scouts_of_America

According to the African American Registry:

“In the South, with the “separate but equal” mindset of the times, black [scout] troops were not treated equally. They were often not allowed to wear scout uniforms, and had far smaller budgets and insufficient facilities to work with. The BSA on a national level was often defensive about its stance on segregation …

[Early integration] would have also been dangerous, because the Ku Klux Klan had strongly denounced the Scouts for even having segregated black troops. They claimed the BSA was a puppet of the Catholic Church, and it was not unheard of for Scout Jamborees and rallies to be broken up, often violently, by the Klan. After the Civil Rights Act, slowly, troops began to integrate throughout the nation, even in the South …”

Reference: https://aaregistry.org/story/the-african-american-boy-scout-movement-a-story/

“Stanley Harris made significant gains in introducing African American boys to scouting. He was made the head of the Interracial Services division of the Boy Scouts, and given the task of promoting interracial scouting across the nation. He supported the founding of the first all-black Boy Scout troop in 1916 and, during the 1920s, helped organize the first all-Native American troop. In 1926, he organized the Scouts’ Interracial Service”

Stanley Harris (d. 1976) was employed to boost Boy Scout inclusion https://www.ncdcr.gov/blog/2015/08/13/stanley-harris-booster-of-diverse-scouting-initiatives

The inclusion debate continue: http://theconversation.com/what-history-tells-us-about-boy-scouts-and-inclusion

Benjamin Jordan book links YouTube interview: https://www.uncpress.org/book/9781469627656/modern-manhood-and-the-boy-scouts-of-america/?title_id=3759

BC420C1B-4364-4EF3-B12A-7C37E8DD5D65

The Girl Scouts of America Version of the handbook

How Girls Can Help Their Country (1913) is the Girl Scouts Of America version of the Handbook Agnes And Robert Baden Powell (BP), so obviously replacing the Britain and Empire references and examples with ones from American history and culture, as Seton did in the Boy Scouts of America version. The Book was written by Walter Hoxie and Juliette “Crazy Daisy” Gordon  Low, founder of the Girl Scouts Of America.

Walter John Hoxie (1848-1934) was a recognized authority on birds and formed a nature group for young girls, many of whom became members of the first Girl Scout troop when it was organized by Juliette Gordon Low.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliette_Gordon_Low

Juliette Gordon Low (1860 –  1927) was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA.

Inspired by the work of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts, Juliette Low joined the Girl Guide movement in England, forming a group of Girl Guides in Great Britain in 1911 before returning to America.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-very-first-troop-leader-116645976/

I was interested to read that Juliette had been in England, so saw and took part in early Baden Powell scouting there before returning to the USA in 1912.

There she established the first U.S. Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia.

In 1915, the United States’ Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts, and Juliette Gordon Low was the first president. Her birthday, October 31, is commemorated by the Girl Scouts as “Founder’s Day“.

IMG_1215
Character types of boys – useful for character cards?  Scoutmaster’s Handbook (America) 1911

Reading these Edwardian / early Twentieth Century handbooks, it is interesting from a gamer’s point of view when writing rules or role cards for Boy and Girl Scout characters to see the similarities and differences between how Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or Guides were expected to train and behave.

Different characters amongst boys were acknowledged in The Scoutmasters Handbook (America).

Juliette Gordon Low in her Preaface or Foreword mentions that the Boy Scouts book (America 1911? Baden Powell 1908?) should not be followed too closely.

IMG_1207
Blurring distinctions of class but not race?  Girl Scouts of America Handbook Foreword 1913

After a brief uncoordinated early year or two when girls set up their own girl scout patrols after Scouting for Boys was published in serial form c. 1907/8, supported by Baden Powell, ‘fraternisation’ between the two sexes increasingly was seen as a problem for both sides.

IMG_1208
Advice on Womanliness adapted from the British handbook, The American Girl Scout Handbook 1913
IMG_1219
Strictly no boys allowed in camp …

In America, there were many competing organizations for girls that claimed to be the closest model to Boy Scouting. Juliette Gordon Low hoped support from prominent people would help legitimize her organisation, Girl Scouts Of America (GSA) as the official sister organization to the Boy Scouts. Two pages in my 1913 reprint book list the distinguished ladies who became the Honorary Committee of The Girl Scouts. Not being well versed in the minutiae of American history, I’m not sure who all these ‘great and good’  ladies are but recognise the name of Mrs Thomas Edison.

Rival Girls Organisations?

Juliette’ biggest competition was the Camp Fire Girls, which was formed in the USA in part by James E. West, the Chief Executive of the  Boy Scouts of America. It was seen as  a “strong proponent of strict gender roles.”

“In March 1912, Gordon Low wrote to the Camp Fire Girls, inviting them to merge into the Girl Guides, but they declined even after Baden-Powell suggested that they reconsider. James West considered many of the activities that the Girl Guides participated in to be genderinappropriate, and [West] was concerned that the public would question the masculinity of the Boy Scouts if they participated in similar activities.” Source: Wikipedia article on Juliette Gordon Low 

“Although the Girl Guides were growing, the Camp Fire Girls were growing at a faster rate, so Gordon Low traveled to England to seek counsel from the British Girl Guides. By the time she returned to America in 1913, she had a plan to spread Girl Guiding nationwide by changing the name from Girl Guides to Girl Scouts …”

“[Her] Savannah Girl Guides had already “renamed themselves to Girl Scouts because ‘Scout’ reminded them of America’s pioneer ancestry.  James West objected to the name change, saying that it trivialized the name of scout and would cause older Boy Scouts to quit. Baden-Powell gave Gordon Low his support on her use of the term scout, although he preferred the term Guide for the British Girl Guides.”  Reference: Juliette Gordon Low Wikipedia article. 

Looking at her Part 1  introduction section, Juliette suggested that Girl Scouts should not need be “a new club” but “existing organisations such as school clubs, factories, social or charitable clubs, YWCAs can also take up in addition to their other work or play, the Girl Scouts training and games … Where girls do not already belong to any clubs, they can form themselves into groups and bands, and these are called Girl Scouts.”

Black Girl Scouts, White Girl Scouts?

https://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-history.html

The GSA Timeline mentions: “Additionally one of the earliest Native American Girls Scout Troops formed on the Onondaga Reservation in New York State in 1921, and Mexican American girls formed a Girl Scout troop in Houston Texas in 1922.”

On the segregation issue the African American Registry website notes that although Daisy Low’s first group in Savanna Georgia [the Confederate South] in 1912 was all white :

“Racially segregated in the beginning, the first troop for African American girls was formed in 1917, and by the 1950s GSUSA began a national effort to desegregate all Girl Scout troops. In 1956, Martin Luther King Jr. described the Girl Scouts as “a force for desegregation.”

Reference: https://aaregistry.org/story/black-history-and-the-girl-scouts-iof-the-usa/

There is more here about different individual guiders’ efforts to create suitable scout colonies for African-American girls:

Reference: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/girl-scouting-was-once-segregated-180962208/

I take my 1970s Cub Scout hat off to these founders and those others who fought to make Scouting and guiding accessible to all, regardless of colour and background.

Certainly as I develop my Wide Games tabletop rules,there should be a Daisy Patrol flag for my Girl Scout figures, in honour of Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. Patrol colours are yellow and white.

The challenges of the future is how the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts associations round the world join forces and also remain “separate but equal” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-04-17/boy-scouts-are-just-scouts-now-and-that-s-making-girl-scouts-mad

IMG_1221

Despite the great marketing opportunities to have official suppliers with the scout logo or name (a copyright carefully protected from the earliest days) the uniform requirements were basic and hopefully affordable to all:

IMG_1210

It is easy nowadays to mock Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting or Guiding; how forward thinking they were is shown in the self defence section on shooting and the section on Women aviation pioneeers here in the Girl Scouts of America 1913 handbook, linked to the Aviation Badge :

IMG_1220

They may have had their rivalries and flaws, but I think we and many families over the last hundred years have had many reasons to be thankful to people like Juliette ‘Crazy Daisy’ Gordon Low, Walter James Hoxie, the first original Savannah Georgia Girl Scouts, Agnes Baden-Powell and her brother Robert, Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, James West, even controversial characters like W.D. Boyce.

Not to mention the less well known Scout leaders who led the push for African American involvement and desegregation in Scouting, mentioned in the Smithsonian article. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/girl-scouting-was-once-segregated-180962208/

A. Josephine Groves Holloway 1898 – 1988

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Groves_Holloway

B. Maggie Lena Walker https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_L._Walker. Smithsonian article: “The first African-American troop founded south of the Mason-Dixon Line didn’t occur until 1932. This is according to the National Park Service. Maggie L. Walker was a bank president and newspaper editor. She fought to form Girl Scout Bird Troop, Number 34”

C. Sarah Randolph Bailey of “The Girl Reserves” (1885-1972)
https://www.georgiawomen.org/sarah-randolph-bailey

“Perhaps her greatest passion was the Girl Scouts and providing African-American girls the same experience and benefits despite the fact that the Girls Scouts did not allow black troops until the 1940s. Bailey organized groups called the YWCA Girl Reserves in 1935, a movement of the YWCA that offered young black girls the same experience as the Girl Scouts. Within two years, Macon [Georgia] had 15 Girl Reserve groups. Her work did not go unnoticed and in 1945, the Girl Scouts of the USA invited the formation of black troops.”

I might need to add some new more inclusive or diverse Boy Scout and Girl Scout Patrols or Troops!

AF8EB2A2-613D-44A9-8DDF-E26C7F3D8D73
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow, retired, 10 August 2019.