Daniel Carter Beard, 1850-1941

Historical Marker #50 in Kenton County marks the boyhood home of Daniel Carter Beard, an early leader of the Boy Scouts of America.

Although Beard was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 21, 1850, he soon moved to nearby Covington, Kentucky. After a public school education, Beard enrolled at Worrall's Academy where he studied civil engineering. Upon his graduation in 1869, Beard worked as a surveyor in Cincinnati before moving to New York City in 1874.

A talented artist, Beard spent several years traveling across the country, where he surveyed land, drew animals, and built a reputation as one of the best known portraitists of his day. Beginning in 1882, he and his brothers ultimately published sixteen books of illustrations. Besides art, Beard was passionate about the outdoors. In Covington in 1905, Beard founded the Sons of Daniel Boone, the earliest forerunner to the Boy Scouts. His model was a major influence on the Boy Scouts of England, and, eventually, the Boy Scouts of America, which was incorporated in 1910.

Affectionately known as "Uncle Dan," Beard was a charter member of the Boy Scouts of America’s executive committee. He served as national Scout commissioner for thirty years. Beard is responsible for designing the Scout hat, shirt, neckerchief, and many of the merit badges. He received many awards for his work, including the gold eagle badge, and the first medal for outstanding citizenship by the state of Kentucky. Also, Mount Dan Beard in the Alaskan Denali Range was named in his honor.

Beard died at his home in New York on July 11, 1941. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was among the pallbearers at Beard's funeral. His childhood home in Covington was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

Images

Daniel Carter Beard Home, Kenton County

Daniel Carter Beard Home, Kenton County

The boyhood of Daniel Carter Beard in Covington was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1965. Beard was a forerunner of the Boy Scouts of America. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

The Beard Home

The Beard Home

Daniel Carter Beard was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1850, but was raised across the river in this home in Kenton County. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Sir Robert Baden-Powell began the World Scout movement when he founded the English Boy Scouts in 1909. He said about the movement: "I am not the father of the Boy Scouts. I looked to see what you (Beard) were doing over here in America… I might be called the uncle of the Boy Scouts." View File Details Page

A troop of Boy Scouts in the 1930s

A troop of Boy Scouts in the 1930s

Daniel Carter Beard had great influence on the Boy Scouts of America when they were incorporated in 1910. An artist, Beard is credited with designing much of the scout uniform and merit badges. Courtesty of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

McKenzie Martin, “Daniel Carter Beard, 1850-1941,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 25, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/347.

Subjects

Share this Story