The Baden-Powell Library
A Selection of excerpts from the works of
Robert Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career

By Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Lessons from the Varsity of Life is Baden-Powell’s most complete autobiographical account. Here he presents interesting and enjoyable stories of his "two lives" in Soldiering and in Scouting.
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter I: My Education
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Chapter II: Art: Acting
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.

Boatsmanship and Fishing
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.

Shooting, Fox-Hunting and Polo
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.

Big Game, Hippos and Lions
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.

Pets, Stalking, Mountaineering and the School of the Jungle
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter IV: Spying and Scouting
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V: Soldiering. Early Days in India
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V: Soldiering. Zululand, 1896
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V:Soldiering. With a Native Levy in Ashanti
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter VI: Matabeleland
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter VII: The South African War
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter VIII:The South African Constabulary
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Chapter IX:As Inspector-General of Cavalry
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Chapter X: The Boy Scouts & Girl Guides
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Chapter XI: The War
and Chapter XII: Looking Back
Baden-Powell, Memories of India. A collection of stories from B-P’s diaries and letters home. Chapters on the Afghan War and its aftermath and on skirmishes on the Northwest frontier. These stories are full of B-P’s personality and capture the adventuresome spirit of the Chief Scout in his early days in the army.
From Chapter III. The Sport of Kings and the King of Sports. B-P tells an amusing story of Young Winston Churchill, his devotion to the sport of polo, and early evidence of his talent for public speaking.
Chapter VIII. When the Tribes are Out. The Afghan War—The Great March—Ordered up to Kandahar—A Warlike Atmosphere—The Expedition of I842—The Camel and His Ways—Kandahar—A Dangerous City—Theatricals Under Difficulties—A Serious Mistake—Afghan Nerve—Attacked by Ghazis —The Crack of Doom—The Field of Maiwand—A Broken Square—A Heroic Chaplain—A Narrow Escape
Chapter IX. The Aftermath of War. The Image of War—Patrols and Picnics A Curious Superstition—Jock Fights a Wild Cat—Afghan Depredations—Relics of Alexander the Great—Camp Rumours —Abdurrahman Waits—The Horses Stampede—A Subaltern’s Opinion of the Government—A Study in Contrasts—Rifle Stealing—An Ingenious Plan—Further Losses—I Shoot Myself—I Hear my Death Announced —Digging for the Bullet—Convalescence—Stalked by a Leopard—A Rough and Tumble
Chapter XI. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright. A Possible Interrogation—I Go in Pursuit of Tigers— Smith-Dorrien at Work—The Party Meets—The Old Hands—A Native Weakness—How to Beat for Tigers— A Dead Enemy—A Native Village—Nearly a Fatality— Camp Literature—I Become Doctor—I Get a Bear— Camp Life—A Tiger’s Wings—The Mahout—The Tables Turned—Table Delicacies—Jungle Yachts— The End of the Ghost
Chapter XII. A Frontier Row. The Value of the North-West Frontier—Village Warfare —Readiness and Efficiency—How an Irishman Got a Dog and a Breakfast for Nothing—Trouble in the Buner Country—The Subaltern in War-time—The Pessimistic Afridi—A Terrified Jehu—Sniping—The Morning of the Fight—Sir Bindon’s Dispositions—The Artillery Triumphs—Touching the Button—Rock-rolling—An Exciting Race—The Bravest Man I Ever Saw—The Enemy in Retreat—An Exhausting Climb—The Tribute of a Foe—The Trophies of War—Our Casualties
Chapter XIV. The Elephant as Gentleman. Sentiment About the Elephant—His Mathematical Mind—"Dandelion’s" Idiosyncrasies—Her Courage in the Face of an Enemy—The Elephant Who Died—A Problem in Sanitation—The Jungle Ship—Sea Legs— The Genius of the Elephant—His Timidity—Jock’s Victory—The Duchess of Connaught’s Adventure— The Elephant’s Caution—He Utilises Human Material— A Malefactor Flogged by Elephants—The Elephant in War—An Elephant Fight
My Adventures as a Spy by Sir Robert Baden-Powell was published in 1915 during the first years of the Great War. It recounts B-P’s experiences in espionage during his military career and is full of adventure. It is a short book, an exciting story, and one of my personal favorites.
link-spy2.jpg (1947 bytes) Part One. Introduction—The Different Degrees of Spies—Strategical Agents—Tactical Agents—Residential Spies—Officer Agents—Commercial Spying—Germany’s Invasion Plans—Field Spies—Catching a Spy.
link-spy2.jpg (1947 bytes) Part Two. Conveying Information—Secret Signals and Warnings—Spies in War Time—The Pluck of a Spy—Traitorous Spying—The German Spy Organization—The Value of Being Stupid—Concealing a Fort in a Moth’s Head—Butterfly Hunting in Dalmatia.
link-spy2.jpg (1947 bytes) Part Three. How Spies Disguise Themselves—The Sport of Spying—The Value of Hide-and-Seek—Spying on Mountain Troops—Posing as an Artist.
link-spy2.jpg (1947 bytes) Part Four. Fooling a German Sentry—A Spy is Suspicious—Hoodwinking a Turkish Sentry—Tea and a Turk—Sore Feet—Austrian Officers—An Interesting Task.
link-spy2.jpg (1947 bytes) Part Five. An Interesting Task—Encounter with the Police—Success with the Balloon—How to Enter a Fort—How We Got the Secret Light—How the Big River was Swum—Caught at Last—The Escape—Conclusion.

Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell, 13th Hussars, Commanding The Native Levy. The Downfall of Prempeh: A Diary of Life With the Native Levy in Ashanti 1895-96. London, 1896.

  In one of his early military works, The Matabele Campaign 1896, Baden-Powell (then Colonel R. S. S. Baden-Powell) relates events during the Matabeleland and Mashonaland Campaigns in 1896-1897. B-P served on detached service with Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company securing British interests in what is now Zimbabwe.  
  Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, African Adventures, 1937. Chapter XI. Rhodesia. (Remaining chapters under Development).  
  Baden Powell’s Boy Scouts Beyond the Seas, "My World Tour" covers his extensive travels for Scouting in 1912. He was delighted to find Scouting taking hold, first in Britain, the Dominions and the British Colonies. As his travels continued he would observe: "Then Scouting began to be taken up by the boys of other nations, until now practically every country has its part of our brotherhood."  
One of B-P’s more popular books was Rovering to Success, published in the 1920’s. It was addressed to older Scouts in the "Rover Branch" of Scouting. In his preface, B-P outlined the book and, defined "what is meant by success."  
What Scouts Can Do: More Yarns for Scouts is one of several books of "yarns" — stories about subjects he thought would be of interest to Scouts. It was first published in 1921 and reprinted a number of times. It was one of B-P’s more popular books.  
Chapter IV. Getting Good Sport—Life in the Wild. Part One: Knowing the Language — Deduction — Why He Was Fat and Rich — Mountineering: The Right Way to Climb Hills — Maxim for Scouts — Observation — Close to the Enemy — What the Indian Saw — An Envelope for a Boy — African Tribes
Chapter IV. Getting Good Sport—Life in the Wild. Part Two: On the March — Camping — Hunting — Fire-Lighting — Initiation of Boys — Discipline — Chivalry — Salutation of Friendship — Totem — Signalling —The Rally — Elephant Hunter and Scout — Two Narrow Escapes — The Boy Hunter —The End of a Great Career.
Yarns from Chapter VII. Techniques of stalking, the Scout’s staff, and the "Thanks Badge," surprisingly in the form of a swastika.
Baden-Powell traveled widely. He enjoyed the open road and had a keen sense of adventure. In What Scouts Can Do: More Yarns, he says "I want every Scout to be happy, and one of the best ways I know of being happy is to go for a good bike ride. In Biking in Bosnia he provides a fascinating picture of this war-torn land before the two World Wars.
"Be Prepared," an interview with Baden-Powell describing the beginnings of Scouting, published in The Listener in 1937.  
  In 1914, B-P wrote an article for The Strand Magazine entitled, "The Most Impressive Sight I Ever Saw." It described the Royal Rally of Boys Scouts at Windsor in 1911, when 30,000 Scouts were reviewed by King George V. While he described this event in several of his own works, this is a particularly poignant and  colorful version.  
The Chief’s Closing Address at the 3rd World Jamboree, Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, England, 1929  
link-sfb1.jpg (2750 bytes) Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys, 1908. Russell Freedman describes the background and contents of the first Scout handbook, written by B-P and published in magazine installments in 1908. Here are the covers B-P drew for each installment along with an excerpt from each.  
link-sfb2.jpg (2555 bytes) Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys, 1908. Here is B-P’s Preface to an early edition of Scouting for Boys. Norman MacLoed writes: "If anyone should ever ask you to provide a short summary of what B-P was all about and why we should still follow his advice and methods, all you really need to remember is: He cared." (From Norman MacLoed’s The Serious Side of Scouting).  
link-bp-aids2sm.jpg (3001 bytes) In 1919, B-P summarized his thoughts on the game of Scouting in Aids to Scoutmastership. This remains his clearest explanation of theory and method of Scouting. Though some material had been dated by the passage of time, there is much in this little book that seems written for today and can be helpful to Scouts and Scouters in understanding the foundation of our Movement.  
Baden-Powell, Scouting Games, 1910. Here is B-P’s own compendium of games for Scouts. The language may be dated and the games somewhat antique, but this book remains a fine source for games and contests for today’s Scouts. (From Steve Tobin’s Netwoods Virtual Campsite).  
  In The Young Knights of the Empire (1917) provides examples of each of the Scout Laws as well as chapters on "Travel Abroad" (including "Camping in Norway"), "Foreign Scouts," "Trip to Algeria" (including section on Malta and Sicily), "Sea Scouting," and "How to Be a Backwoodsman." B-P illustrated the dust jacket with a portrait of a Scout in the role of Saint George, a knight in armor caging the dragon behind the bars of the Scout Oath, Motto and Law.  

About Sir Robert Baden-Powell

"B.-P." from Great Contemporaries by Sir Winston S. Churchill. Perhaps one of the finest portraits of the significance of the life and work of Sir Robert Baden-Powell.
Published at the end of the first year of the war, H. W. Wilson’s With the Flag to Pretoria  devotes portions of three chapters to the Siege and Relief of Mafeking. "Illustrated mainly from photographs and authentic sketches taken in South Africa," it includes several rare photos of Baden-Powell.
"This small place, which sprang in the course of a few weeks from obscurity to fame …" opens Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s retelling of The Siege of Mafeking.  Author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Conan Doyle provides an excellent contemporary account of the siege in his history, The Great Boer War, 1902.  
Eileen K. Wade, The Piper of Pax: The Life Story of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, 1924. Eileen Wade served Baden-Powell as Confidential Secretary and assistant until his death in 1941. The Piper of Pax, written is an excellent short biography of B-P. It includes an account of his early career in the army and the founding of the Scout Movement. Of special note are many selections from his diaries and his letters to his mother.
Chapter VII. Swaziland, Malta and Home. A shooting trip to Knysna—first encounter with an elephant—a mission to Swaziland—an interview with Oom Paul—life in Malta—adventures in many countries—maneuvers in Ireland.
Chapter VIII. Ashanti. The Ashanti Expedition—experiences of a native levy—the wages of a king the nigh] march to Bekwai—hoisting the British flag— how to avoid fever—Kantankye receives promotion.
Chapter IX. Matabeleland. Special service again—troubles in Matabeleland—Sir Frederic Carrington arrives—scouting in the Matoppos—the Wolf that never sleeps—the case of Uwini—home with Rhodes.
Chapter X. Old Places and New Faces. India revisited—Officer Commanding 5th Dragoon Guards—work and sport in plenty—a shooting trip with Sir Baker Russell—on special service to South Africa—ready for war.
Chapter XI. The South African War, 1899-1902. The declaration of war—beseiged in Mafeking—seven months beseiged—the story of the stamps—food shortage—arrival of the relief column.
Chapter XII. The South African Constabulary. The hero of Mafeking—Lord Roberts’ despatch—a new job—the South African Constabulary—home at last—an interview with King Edward—appointed Inspector-General of Cavalry.
Eileen K. Wade, 27 Years with Baden-Powell, 1957. With extensive quotations from B-P’s diaries and letters, 27 Year with Baden-Powell provides some special insights onto the life of B-P.
Chapter 5: Pax Hill
Chapter 12. Why the Uniform?
Chapter 19: Kenya
E. E. Reynolds, B-P: The Story of His Life, is a major source of biographical information about B-P. It is one of several works by E. E. Reynolds documenting the life of the Chief Scout and the early days of the Scout Movement.
Chapter I. The Training of a Tenderfoot
Early Days. India to 1883
Chapter II. First Experiences in South Africa
South Africa 1884-1889. Malta.
Chapter III. The Testing of a Scout
Ashanti, 1895-1896
Chapter IV. "The Best Adventure"
Matabeleland, 1896-1897
Chapter V. India Once More
5th Dragoons, India, 1897-1899
Chapter VI. Mafeking
Defense and Relief, 1899-1900
Chapter VII. From the Army to the Boy Scouts
South Africa and Home, 1901-1907
Chapter VIII. Brownsea Island
The Beginnings of Scouting, 1907-1909
Chapter IX. Forging Ahead
The Growth of Scouting, 1909-1914
Chapter X. The War Years
Chapter XI. Early Jamborees
Olympia, Wembley, Gilwell, 1920-1924
Chapter XII. The Man
A Character Sketch of a Great Man
Chapter XIII. Coming-of-Age
Arrowe Park, Rovers, Kanderstag, 1929-1931
Chapter XIV. Overseas
Chapter XV. Last Years
Appendix–Last Messages
link-ee-cover-small.jpg (3447 bytes) E. E. Reynolds, Boy Scouts, 1944. This short history of Scouting gives an account of the early years of the Movement, its origins and growth, its chief activities, achievements and aims. Reynolds was the editor of The Scouter and a biographer of Baden-Powell.
link-calgaric2.jpg (3012 bytes) The Cruise of the Calgaric, relates the story of a 1933 cruise to the nations of the Baltic by Lord and Lady Baden-Powell and a contingent of 650 Guides and Scouts. This "Argosy of Peace" carried them from England to the Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and home. Words and photos from the cruise provide a rare picture of Scouting in these countries prior to the Second World War.
"Enterprise" by Hilary Saint George Saunders. This short biography of B-P is much the idealized version of his life. Written shortly after World War Two, it forms part of a testimony to the contribution of Scouts in Occupied Europe and England during the dark days of the war. While occasionally relying more on drama than on fact, this chapter on B-P provides a good capsule biography and introduction to his "Two Lives." Excerpted from Hilary Saint George Saunders, The Left Handshake, 1948.
Burnham’s account of Scouting with B-P in the Matopo Hills during the Matabele Campaign.
From Frederick Russell Burnham, Taking Chances, 1944
Scouting in South Africa, 1884-1890. Russell Freeman’s Scouting with Baden-Powell provides an easy to read and enjoyable account of B-P’s two lives — as a serving officer in the British Army, and as the Founder of the World Scout Movement. His chapter on B-P in South Africa in the 1880’s gives a good second-hand account of B-P’s service there. It includes a description of his pursuit of Dinizulu during the Zulu civil war of 1883-1884.
"B-P’s Ladder of Life." A Chronology from Eileen K. Wade, Baden-Powell, 1944.
A Baden-Powell Bibliography. Laszlo Nagy, who was the Chief Executive of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), developed this detailed bibliography for his book 250 Million Scouts published in 1985.
Resources for B-P Biography & Bibliography from Randy Wooster’s Scouting History and Traditions.
Stevens Publishing of Kila, Montana has a wonderful selection of reprints of many of B-P’s writings. These include, among others: Aids to Scoutmastership, Lessons from the Varsity of Life, Memories of India and My Adventures as a Spy. Stevens also publishes reprints of works by Ernest Thompson Seton and Dan Beard, two founders of the Boy Scouts of America. They are a unique source of information on Scouting.

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Last Modified: 12:06 PM on December 21, 2009