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Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Gilwell collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 8680

Scope and Contents

Collection contains materials relating to the lives of Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Gilwell, and his wife Olave, as well as on The Scout Association in 1910. Materials are scans or digital reproductions of photographs, business and personal correspondence even with European royalty and nobility, books and published articles, reports or manuals, notes, and other ephemera and information relating to the Baden-Powell family, the development of the scouting movement, and establishment and success of The Scout Association. Dated 1797-2015.


  • approximately 1797-2015


Language of Materials

Materials primarily in English with some letters and documents in Spanish, German, and French, a a few materials in Italian, Hebrew, Chinese, and Russian.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Gilwell collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Lord Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941) founded the Boy Scouts Movement.

Lord Robert Baden-Powell was born on February 22, 1857 in Paddington, England. He joined the British Army in 1876 and served in India, Afghanistan, and South Africa. His valour in fighting against the Boers in South Africa made him a national hero. He was later promoted to Lieutenant General and made Inspector General of Cavalry, and was awarded the title of Lord of Gilwell.

Recognizing the value of boys he founded the Boy Scouts Movement in 1907. The movement quickly spread from England throughout the world.

On October 30, 1912 he married Olave Soames.

Upon retirement he moved to Kenya in 1938. He resided there until his death on January 8, 1941.

Biographical History

Olave Baden-Powell (1889-1977) was the wife of Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Gilwell and leader of the worldwide Guiding movement.

Olave St Clair Soames was born on February 22, 1889, to Harold and Katherine Mary Hill Soames in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. She married Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell on October 30, 1912, St. Peter's Church, Parkstone, Dorset, England. She founded the worldwide Guiding movement, and in 1918 became Chief Guide for Britain; in 1930 she became World Chief Guide. She is thought to have visited 111 countries and taken 648 flights in her life-time. She led the Guides for forty years and was honoured by many countries for her tireless service. Olave died on June 25, 1977, in Bramley, Surrey, England, and was buried in Nyeri, Kenya, with her husband.

Biographical History

The Scout Association is a utilitary and recreational scouting movement for men and women of all ages that was founded in the United Kingdom in 1907 by British nobleman Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell.

The Scout Association was founded in 1907 by Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Gilwell. The organization was inspired by Baden-Powell's experience defending the small South African township of Mafeking during the Boer War when high levels of initiative were shown by boys under pressure. This helped him to realize that young people had huge potential that was often left untapped. In 1907 Baden-Powell held his first camp with 20 boys on Brownsea Island in Poole, Dorset. Scouting for Boys was published in 1908 and became the handbook of the new movement. In its first census in 1910, Scouting had almost 108,000 participants. Wolf Cubs came along for younger Scouts in 1916, followed four years later by Rover Scouts for an older age range. 1920 was also the year of the first World Scout Jamboree where Scouts from across the world and gathered in London to celebrate. Following heroic work during the Second World War when Scouts acted as coast guards, couriers and stretcher bearers, members continued to show they were truly able to live their motto ‘Be prepared’ and the movement continued to grow even with th edeath of Founder and Chief Scout Baden-Powell in 1941. Rover Scouts and Senior Scouts became Venture Scouts and the badge system was updated to reflect the wider range of activities and a wider range of scouts. Girls were invited to join the Venture Scout section and this was introduced to other sections in the early 1990s. Younger children got to experience Scouting for the first time with the official incorporation of the Beaver Scouts in 1986. The Association again underwent reform with the launch of a new logo, uniform and training program and the introduction of Explorer Scouts and the Scout Network by 2002. Shortly after, in 2007, the Movement celebrated its centenary and the 21st World Scout Jamboree was held in the UK. Scouting hit the headlines in 2009 when TV adventurer Bear Grylls was announced as the new Chief Scout.


750 online resource

1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

Custodial History

Materials scanned by Harold B. Lee Library with the approval of the British Scouting Association in 2014.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; British Scouting Association; 2014. Scanned; Harold B. Lee Library; 2014.

Existence and Location of Originals

The Scout Association, Archive and Heritage Department, Gilwell Park, Bury Road, Chingford, London, E4 7QW, United Kingdom. +44 208 433 7195.

Processing Information

Processed; Seth Cannon and McKinley Griffin; 2015.

Register of Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Gilwell collection
Seth Cannon and McKinley Griffin
2015 February 11
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States