Merit Badge History Pages

When one is asked about the icons of Scouting, the most commonly identified are: the campfire, the uniform, and merit badges. The merit badge program has delivered knowledge, skills and career awareness to millions of youth for the last 100 years.

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell

The preface of Scouting for Boys, written in 1908, by Lord Robert Baden-Powell; the founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, included a description of the four components of the Scouting program. The second of those components was, "Handicrafts or hobbies which may help a boy to make his way in life, for which we give ‘Proficiency’ badges"

William Dickson Boyce

In 1910, the American Scouting movement was incorporated by William D Boyce and others. The original edition of The Official Handbook for Boys was published in 1911 to standardize the program. In addressing merit badges, known at that time as Badges of Merit, the manual stated, "These badges are intended to stimulate the boy’s interest in the life about him and are given for general knowledge". That purpose has changed little since those early days. Recent editions of the Boy Scout Handbook stated, "A merit badge is an invitation to explore an exciting subject... some merit badges encourage you to increase your skill in subjects you already like, while others challenge you to learn about new areas of knowledge ... a merit badge can even lead you toward a lifelong hobby or set you on the way to a rewarding career"

Ernest Thompson Seton

Ernest Thompson-Seton, an author, nature artist, and naturalist from New York, was commissioned to adapt Scouting for Boys into a manual for the new BSA organization and his 1910 publication included 14 Badges of Merit. The following year, a more comprehensive manual was released by the BSA and is considered the original handbook. The Official Handbook for Boys listed 57 different merit badges available to Scouts. From that point on, national leaders of the organization have considered and approved merit badges on subjects that interest boys and helped to achieve the purposes of the BSA.

Merit Badge History Pages

Aerodynamics
Aeronautics
Agribusiness
Agriculture
Airplane Design
Airplane Structure
Angling
Animal Industry
Atomic Energy
Auto Mechanics
Automobiling
Automotive Safety
Bee Farming
Bee Keeping
Beef Production
Beekeeping
Blacksmithing
Bookbinding
Botany
Business
Carpentry
Cement Work
Cinematography
Citizenship
Citizenship in the Home
Citrus Fruit Culture
Civics
Computers
Conservation
Conservation of Natural Resources
Consumer Buying
Corn Farming
Cotton Farming
Craftsmanship
Dairying
Dramatics
Farm and Ranch Management
Farm Arrangement
Farm Home and its Planning
Farm Layout and Building Arrangement
Farm Records
Farm Records and Bookkeeping
Firemanship
First Aid to Animals
Food Systems
Forage Crops
Foundry Practice
Fruit and Nut Growing
Fruit Culture
General Science
Grasses, Legumes, and Forage Crops
Handicapped Awareness
Handicraft
Hog and Pork Production
Hog Production
Insect Life
Interpreting
Invention
Landscape Gardening
Landscaping
Leathercraft
Machinery
Mammals
Markmanship
Masonry
Mechanical Drawing
Metallurgy
Metals Engineering
Mining
Nut Culture
Ornithology
Pathfinding
Personal Finances
Personal Health
Physical Development
Pigeon Raising
Poultry Keeping
Printing
Rabbit Raising
Reptile Study
Rifle and Shotgun Shooting
Rocks and Minerals