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William D. Boyce

AKA William Dickson Boyce

Born: 16-Jun-1858
Birthplace: Plum Township, PA
Died: 11-Jun-1929
Location of death: Ottawa, IL
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, IL

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Activist, Business
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Boy Scouts of America

William D. Boyce was a millionaire newspaper publisher who, late in life, became an adventurer and explorer. After a safari to Africa in 1909 he came to London, awaiting his homeward ship to America, but promptly became lost in the confusing streets of Londontown. He was approached and assisted by a boy who led him to his destination but declined a tip for his efforts, explaining only that he helped "because I am a Scout". Boyce had never heard of Boy Scouts, but after visiting the headquarters of Scouting in London he brought home a trunk full of Scouting books and uniforms, and dedicated himself to setting up the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Boyce obtained a charter for his group on 8 February 1910, but had no interest in running an organization, and almost immediately appointed a YMCA executive, Edgar M. Robinson, as Director of BSA. Scouting became popular in America, especially among urban boys, but Boyce severed his ties to the Boy Scouts of America. In 1915 he established the Lone Scouts of America, a new group that sought to appeal to rural boys. In 1920, responding to criticism from the Ku Klux Klan, he barred black boys from membership in the Lone Scouts, and two years later the sub-head "The White Boys' Magazine" was added under the masthead of Boyce's Lone Scout magazine. The Lone Scouts and Boy Scouts were merged in 1924. Boyce received the Silver Buffalo Award, Scouting's highest honor, in 1926, and died of pneumonia in 1929.

Father: David Boyce
Mother: Margaret Jane Bratton Boyce
Brother: John Boyce
Sister: Mary Boyce
Wife: Mary Jane Beacom Boyce ("Rattlesnake Jane", b. 1865, m. 1-Jan-1884, div. 1908, d. 1959)
Son: Benjamin Stevens Boyce (b. 1884, d. 1928 heart failure)
Daughter: Happy Boyce (b. 1886, d. 1976)
Daughter: Sydney Boyce (b. 1889, d. 1950)
Wife: Virginia Dorcas Lee Boyce (singer, b. circa 1881, m. 1910, div. 1912)
Daughter: Virginia Boyce Roberts (b. 1911)

    High School: Plum High School, Plum, PA
    University: Wooster Academy, Wooster, OH (1878)

    Boy Scouts of America Founder (1910-15)
    Lone Scouts of America Founder (1915-24)
    Freemasonry
    Oddfellows
    Shriners
    Union League Club of Chicago
    Silver Buffalo 1926

Author of books:
Lisbon and Her Industries (1883)
A strike Made by Boyce's Big Weeklies (1894)
Illustrated South America (1912)
Alaska, Present and Future : Its Railroads, Mines, Fisheries, Agriculture, People, and Laws (1913)
Alaska and the Panama Canal, Illustrated (1914)
Illustrated United States Colonies and Dependencies (1914)
The Philippine Islands, Illustrated (1914)
The Hawaiian Islands and Porto Rico [sic] (1914)
United States Dependencies : Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama Republic, Illustrated (1914)
Australia and New Zealand, Illustrated (1922)
Illustrated Africa, North, Tropical, South (1925)


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