The Scoutmaster

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The Scoutmaster
The Scoutmaster.jpg
Artist Norman Rockwell
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions117 cm× 84 cm(46 in× 33 in)
Location National Scouting Museum

The Scoutmaster is a 1956 painting by American illustrator Norman Rockwell. It was originally created by Rockwell for the 1956 Brown & Bigelow Boy Scout Calendar. Since then, it has become one of the most collected images that Rockwell created for the Boy Scouts of America. [1]

Norman Rockwell American painter

Norman Percevel Rockwell was an American author, painter and illustrator. His works have a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine over nearly five decades. Among the best-known of Rockwell's works are the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, Saying Grace, and the Four Freedoms series. He is also noted for his 64-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), during which he produced covers for their publication Boys' Life, calendars, and other illustrations. These works include popular images that reflect the Scout Oath and Scout Law such as The Scoutmaster, A Scout is Reverent and A Guiding Hand, among many others.

Brown & Bigelow is a publishing company based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, that sells branded apparel and promotional merchandise.

Boy Scouts of America Scouting organization in the United States

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is the largest scouting organization and one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with about 2.3 million youth participants and about one million adult volunteers. The BSA was founded in 1910, and since then, about 110 million Americans participated in BSA programs at some time in their lives. BSA is part of the international Scout Movement and became a founding member organization of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922.



Rockwell set out to create a painting dedicated to the Scoutmasters of the United States. [2] In 1953, he visited the 4th National Scout jamboree at Irvine Ranch. [3] Rockwell, who used photographs as a source for his paintings, was staging a photo shoot at the jamboree. He approached a Scoutmaster from Oakland and asked him for four boys to pose for a photo. One of the four chosen was Howard Lincoln who would become the chairman of Nintendo of America and later the CEO of the Seattle Mariners. The four Scouts set up tents and built a fire in the middle of a 90 °F (32 °C) day. [4] Rockwell found a professional Scouter at the jamboree headquarters to pose as the Scoutmaster for the all-day photo shoot. [2]

National Scout jamboree (Boy Scouts of America)

The national Scout jamboree is a gathering, or jamboree, of thousands of members of the Boy Scouts of America, usually held every four years and organized by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Referred to as "the Jamboree", "Jambo", or NSJ, Scouts from all over the nation and world have the opportunity to attend. They are considered to be one of several unique experiences that the Boy Scouts of America offers. The first jamboree was scheduled to be held in 1935 in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Scouting, but was delayed two years after being cancelled due to a polio outbreak. The 1937 jamboree in Washington attracted 25,000 Scouts, who camped around the Washington Monument and Tidal Basin. The event was covered extensively by national media and attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Photo shoot model poses for a photographer

A photo shoot is generally used in the fashion or glamour industry, whereby a model poses for a photographer at a studio or an outdoor location where multiple photos are taken to find the best ones for the required brief. The "model" is not always a person, however; for instance, advertising in print often requires photographic depiction of advertised goods, and food can be the subject of magazine articles.

Howard Lincoln American lawyer and businessman

Howard Charles Lincoln is an American lawyer and businessman, known primarily for being the former chairman of Nintendo of America and the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Seattle Mariners baseball team, representing absentee majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi until Yamauchi died on September 19, 2013.

Later that year, Lincoln and the other three Scouts each received a $25 check and a letter from Rockwell asking them to sign a release. [4] Over the course of the next three years, Rockwell turned the daytime pictures into a nighttime painting. The tents in the painting were modified to be civilian tents with guylines and sidewalls instead of military-style pup tents. It debuted as the 1956 Boy Scout Calendar published by Brown & Bigelow. [2]


The painting is a late night scene that features a Scoutmaster, in full uniform, looking into the dying remains of a campfire. [5] The cookware for that night's dinner is still visible. In the background four Scouts are asleep in two tents. Lincoln is in a white shirt directly to the right of the Scoutmaster; his face is visible. [4]

Tent temporary building which can be easily dismantled and which is portable

A tent is a shelter consisting of sheets of fabric or other material draped over, attached to a frame of poles or attached to a supporting rope. While smaller tents may be free-standing or attached to the ground, large tents are usually anchored using guy ropes tied to stakes or tent pegs. First used as portable homes by nomads, tents are now more often used for recreational camping and as temporary shelters.

Later uses

The painting was utilized by the Boy Scouts of America as the cover art for the 1960 edition of the Scoutmaster's Handbook and an issue of the magazine Boys' Life . [2]

<i>Boys Life</i> American magazine

Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Its target readers are boys between the ages of 6 and 18. The magazine‘s headquarters are in Irving, Texas.

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  1. "The Scoutmaster by Norman Rockwell". National Scouting Museum. Boy Scouts of America. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Hillcourt, Bill (1978). "Norman Rockwell". Scouting. 66 (3): 104.
  3. Oakland Area Council. "The Scoutmaster by Norman Rockwell". San Francisco Bay Area Council. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Payne, Patti. "M's' Lincoln relives Norman Rockwell moment". American City Business Journals. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  5. "Rockwell and Csatari: A tour de force". Scouting. 96 (2): 6. 2008.

Further reading