Last week The Boy Scouts of America celebrated a significant milestone—February 8, 2010 marked the organization’s 100th anniversary of helping young people to build character, learn about responsible citizenship, and develop their own personal fitness. Artist Norman Rockwell had a long association with The Boy Scouts, and would no doubt be joining in on the celebration were he around today.
Although never a scout himself, Rockwell was just 18 when the organization hired him to create illustrations for their Hike Book and official magazine in the fall of 1912. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed art editor of Boys’ Life, an important achievement to the artist’s developing career. Over the next few years, Rockwell would go on to create over 200 artworks for the magazine, before leaving to embark on his successful career as a freelance illustrator.
Rockwell returned to work for the Boy Scouts in 1925, when he was commissioned by Brown & Bigelow to create yearly calendar illustrations for the organization; these calendars were given away at such outlets as banks, department stores, and service stations, increasing the artist’s profile (along with his regular cover illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post). Rockwell would go on paint yearly Scout calendars for a remarkable 52 years (two Scout-themed stamps were also created by the artist during this time period).
After Norman Rockwell retired in 1976, illustrator Joseph Csatari took over the reins as the official Boy Scout artist; his work can be seen alongside many of Rockwell’s original artworks at the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas. Csatari, an admirer and colleague of Rockwell, recently released Norman Rockwell’s Boy Scouts of America, an in-depth, illustrated look at the artist’s work, to coincide with the 100-year anniversary. Purchase the book here: http://store.nrm.org/browse.cfm/4,2283.html
Learn more about Boy Scout guided visits and workshops (including the Art Merit Badge) at Norman Rockwell Museum: https://www.nrm.org/visit/scouts
Boy Scouts of America official site: http://scouting.org/100years/100years/
100 Years Worth of Good Deeds: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/328655.html
Norman Rockwell exhibition at National Scouting Museum: http://www.bsamuseum.org/Museum/Exhibits/Rockwell.aspx
Joseph Csatari and Norman Rockwell: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/02/nj_man_compiles_norman.html
America’s Top “Scout” Model: http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/nkh/lifestyle/83973402.html