On the TOTEM-BOARD No.1 Sep. I; 1917

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1) Snow Hunger Crow Grass Planting Rose Moons Moons THE WOODCRAFT LEAGUE OF AMERICA 13 West 29th Street New York City On the TOTEM-BOARD THE HUNTING MOON (September) 1917 Keep the Child in School “The business of Life must go on, and we must train our young people for life and its responsibilities, greater than have ever heretofore rested upon any people.” DR. ANNA H. SHAW, Chairman Woman's Committee, Council of National Defense Thunder Rea Hunter Leaf-fall Mad Long night Woodcraft League of America 13 West 29th St. New York 2)

The Totem Board
A News Bulletin published occasionally by the Council of Guidance of The Woodcraft League of America, Inc. 13 West 29th Street, New York City.
Ernest Thompson Seton President and Chief
Grace Gallatin Seton Vice-President
Elon Huntington Hooker Treasurer
Mark Sullivan Secretary
Jean Walace Miller Assistant Secretary
Philip D. Fagans Executive Secretary

The Totem Board

The Totem Board says “How Kola” to the many members of the Woodcraft League — the guides, the members and the contributors.

You have had a share in these days of beginning. You have seen an idea grow into shape and that idea taking form in many places. In the midst of the turmoil of war and world stress you have shown your belief in the value of character and the part of the Woodcraft Program in the building of character.

We are proud of the part the Woodcraft League has played since its organization and believe that we now enter a new era in our history. So now comes the Totem Board. It hopes first of all to be of help to the guides in the successful conduct of the local tribe work. It hopes to serve the members by acquainting you with the more important things of Woodcraft and to keep you generally informed as to the progress of the League and of the worth-while things which we may all do in the outdoors.

The Totem Board will measure its success by the service it renders you.

May we have your co-operation in suggestions, in news of the work and in articles telling of Woodcraft?

It will be published from time to time as occasion warrants, and as the members feel it is valuable to them.

September 28th, 1917.

To the Woodcraft Guides and Members:

I have just returned from establishing Woodcraft in a new camp in the West. There were about 100 boys, some of them belonging to other organizations, but all were seeking for new activities, There seemed a big void, an unsatisfied hunger for something else. What was it?

One small boy, who always wore a big sombrero and a leather belt with an empty pistol holster in it, unconsciously voiced it for the rest — as he said sadly, “I was born about two generations too late. There isn’t any wild West now. There is no frontier. Soon there will be no cowboys. All the things I like are gone.”

In other words, he hankered for romance, for adventure, for heroic days and opportunities and thought they were gone. I said to him, “Your father used to feel the same way about earlier times. Sir Walter Scott, 100 years ago, felt and wrote this way about the feudal days — and now we know that he was mistaken, There is just as much romance and adventure in our land as ever, even if it takes a new color and circumstance.”

Then I said: “The Council to-night may open your eyes.”

That night by the Council Fire, when scout reports were called for, he learned many chapters of the romantic life about us for those who have the eyes to read them. He heard of a boy who had that very day met a coyote; of a boy who had seen a beaver dam at a place where for 50 years beavers had been unknown; be learned of two who had met a deer in the morning, and heard a tale of recent adventure in a city, in which lives and fortunes were risked or lost in an affair of one hour. One boy reported that he had fed twenty nuts to a gray squirrel in the City Hall Park of his town. The squirrel had “eaten the first three and planted all the rest; probably so they’d grow. But I did not tell him that they were roasted peanuts and couldn’t grow, because that might have spoiled his good habits.”

Another told of finding a blaze on a tree — the broad arrow, or three lines like a pyramid, with an upright in the middle. In this case it was made by a forester, but other boys said they had seen it in town on pavements or on buildings, and the Guide informed them that it was an old sign used all over England and America for “officially fixed points”, dating back to the Druids, who first used it in a religious sense.

One Woodcrafter, who was sent for the stuff to make rush baskets, reported trying a lot of flags and found them useless because they broke so easily, but on second trial, with cat-tails, produced a good, strong basket.

A keen-eyed boy, with the instincts of a hunter, said he had found some strange, almost human, tracks in the mud by the brook, and showed a drawing of them, which left little doubt that a big racoon had prowled in the night to feed in the shallows and eddies.

Another had made a good observation without leaving cam, for he had that day taken from the cat a deer-mouse, to whose breast were still clinging her four young ones.

A new arrival, who was in town some days before, had seen a motor car driven at a re ess rate, and with true Woodcraft instinct, had noted down its number, Next morning he had learned that it contained a burglar trying to escape from the police.

In the general talk by the Guide he heard of the vast areas on the map of America as well as Africa and Asia that are marked “unexplored”, and last of all he heard of heroism without human parallel being hourly evidenced on the battlefields of Europe today.

No indeed, the heroic age is not passed. We may well hope that it soon will be gone in the sense of war, but the romance of the woods and wild life will continue as long as we have woods and the wisdom to get together in the wish to enjoy them; and the big human romances of the towns are with us all the time, from the clay of the streets through the tenement houses up to the stars — all you need is Woodcraft eyes to see them.

Ernest Thompson Seton m.p.


The Chief’s Column.

September is the Hunting Moon for man and begins another kind of hunting for squirrels. It is a little early for most nuts but the hunting of toadstools sets in about now, and they know which are good. How? That is what nobody knows. Men cannot distinguish the poison ones by touch, smell or taste, but the squirrels seem to do so. Many a time I have seen toadstools stored in limbs for winter use but never have I seen one of the poison kind so laid away. How do the squirrels know?

Bird nesting in Autumn is good sport and quite legitimate. We gather birds’ nests of the most beautiful kind and do it knowing that we are doing no wrong. The smaller birds, as a rule, do not return to the nest of a past season. This, of course, refers to built nests in twigs or branches. If you have ten types of nests, say the robin’s mud nest, the vireo’s hung nest, the goldfinch’s cotton nest, the humming bird’s dainty thimble nest, a Phoebe’s moss nest, a yellow-bird’s floss nest, a sparrow’s rag nest, an oriole’s bag nest, the cuckoo’s stick nest — you have a fine lot of Woodcraft trophies, good subjects for pencil or photo and you have wronged no creature in gathering them.

Did you ever make an Indian pot? We had great sport in making some at Camp Chief Ouray. It is one of those Woodcraft stunts that need not cost one cent of money. It needs only freedom of the Woods.

Get a lump of clay, preferably yellow. Work it clean of stones and lumps. Shape it into a saucer, let it dry for an hour, then build up the walls with wet clay. Smooth it off, let it dry thoroughly, then paint your camp symbol on it with soot and water; when this is dry keep it in a hot fire for a few hours and you have a good pot, provided you do not cool it too quickly. One fine pot was roasted and ready and whole, but in- stead of giving it two or three hours to cool I took it out and in a minute it cracked in twenty pieces.

Under This Department Questions Will Be Answered from Time to Time.

Yes, We recommend that emphasis be laid on working for the Pathfinder rank for the first few months rather than working for coups.

The requirements for the three ranks were worked out believing that the material contained and required, constituted a general training which all members should have before they begin to specialize.

We suggest that you plan to have each member complete at least the Pathfinder’s requirements between now and Spring. It may be well to encourage coups when the Pathfinder rank has been won.

Query Sign.

Woodcraft in Corrective Institutions.

It scarcely need be said that the Woodcraft League was not formed as a corrective agency, nor yet to add to the gray matter of stunted intellects, but Woodcrafters will learn with interest that experiments are being made along both lines, a start having been made at two centers during the summer.

Through the interest of Mrs. E. C. Bodman, chairman, Educational Committee of New York University, two tribes have been organized on Randall’s Island by Lina D. Miller, Woodcraft Girls’ Work Director, the members of which are children under treatment in the Children’s Hospital and Schools conducted under the supervision of the New York City Charities Department, with Miss Katherine Houlihan, the Educational Supervisor, as leader. A Council Ring was built by the children with stones gathered from the shores of Hell Gate, and with the cordial co-operation of the Superintendent, Dr. W. B. Cornell, Woodcraft has been incorporated into the curriculum of this institution. The children are all sub-normal, in some (or several) mental departments, and it is hoped that the appeal to instincts and habits of the open life will gradually develop and strengthen the youthful patients’ mental powers.

The Connecticut State Industrial School at Middletown has a large population of girls between fourteen and twenty, and Miss Penniman, the new head of the school, seeking a means of focusing the interests of the girls, asked a demonstration of Woodcraft League work. There was enough mystery and romance about the presentation made by Miss Miller to strongly attract the girls in large groups, and the first impression is that Woodcraft will prove a moral rallying point for a large number of the girls, all of whom have been untamable under home conditions. Several instances of the yielding of stub-born wills were noted in the first few days, and reports show that the interest is unabated after several weeks.

A Rare Opportunity

All Woodcraft Guides and adult members living within the vicinity of Greater New York have been invited to a Guides’ Council, to be held at Van Cortlandt Park, Saturday afternoon and evening, October 6th.

Ernest Thompson Seton, Hamlin Garland and Philip D. Fagans will speak on Woodcraft subjects.

The evening will be given over to a Guides’ Council. One of the most attractive features of the program will be an address by Captain A. Radcliffe Dugmore, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who was “gassed” in the Battle of the Somme, and had charge of the Scouting and Intelligence work of his brigade. He will speak on “Woodcraft in the World’s War”.

Captain Dugmore is already known as an authority on outdoor subjects, and has been secured to give this lecture preliminary to a lecture which he will give in Carnegie Hall, Tuesday evening, October 23rd, on “Fighting It Out”.

This is one of the rarest opportunities that will come to the members of the League. 4)

Fall Vim — Use It!

There’s a little frost in the air these days. We walk with a little more vim and we feel more keen to be up and about than we did along about the middle of summer.

Everybody feels ambitious just now. Why not use this ambition along Woodcraft lines? Every test reveals the completeness and worth-whileness of the Woodcraft Program. The only thing to be done is for you to know the possibilities and then make use of them.

Make a good beginning. Get your tribe together at once. Make sure that they realize what Woodcraft means, tell them of its spread and of the men and women who are backing it — make each one proud to be a Woodcrafter. Have them wear their badges either on an armband or a Woodcraft suit.

As you begin, emphasize the importance of decorum in council — have the members take pride in doing the thing properly. Woodcraft says that the doing of small things well is a big part of life.

Use these wonderful fall days for week-end outings and hikes — give the boys and girls an opportunity for making their own fires, cooking their own food and, most of all, get their interest in the trees and flowers as the summer season ends.

The nights, too, should mean more as the days become shorter. How many star groups or constellations do you know? A few minutes’ reading and observation on your part will open new vistas for yourself and new worlds for your members. Collins’ “Book of Stars” is a good one, but most important of all, get the “Serviss’ Star Map.” Every tribe should own one.

Decide now to have at least three grand councils and begin at once to plan for them. Use these councils as opportunities to train your members in the things they ordinarily would not do — particularly the dramatic dances, songs, pantomime. Make sure that you are putting into their lives interests which will be worth while as long as they live and that your grand council is a very fine presentation rather than a collection of ordinary stuff. Remember always the Woodcraft Plan of using the interests of their lives to give them pleasure.

The Woodcraft Manual we believe without doubt is the must valuable book — next to the Bible — any boy or girl could have. Every one of your members should have a copy. See to it that they do. If the individual cannot take care of the matter have the tribe handle it.

Hold some of your councils outdoors. It makes the thing real. Several tribes have arranged council rings in the outskirts of the city where they hold monthly outdoor councils. The “Black- snakes” of Bridgeport have done this for years.

Have you tried many of the games in the Manual? These fall days are clear — look up “Spot the Rabbit” and see what you can do with it — see if you can beat out some of the younger members. Then for indoors test your ability to see and remember what you see by trying the game of “Quicksight”.

The Rose, Thunder, and Green Corn Moons.

The Woodcraft Program was demonstrated in forty-two camps, institutions and conferences this summer by representatives from Headquarters. Most of the visits covered several days in each place and included the construction of Woodcraft Council Rings.

Out in the mountains of Colorado, Ernest Thompson Seton built a Council Ring and spent two weeks with the Y.M.C.A. boys of Denver. Up in the Northwoods of Canada, in Algonquin Park, Philip D. Fagans built a Council Ring and spent two weeks with the National Boys’ Work Staff of the Canadian Y.M.C.A. and a group of local leaders.

F. H. Schmidt and Lina D. Miller were secured to do special work, visiting summer camps, doing work among boys and girls, respectively. From Maine to New Jersey they have left behind them Woodcraft Council Rings and Woodcraft Tribes. Mr. Schmidt visited 17 camps in addition to the promotion of the Camp Directors’ Conference, held in co-operation with the Palisade Interstate Park Commission at the Globe Camp. Miss Miller visited 8 camps and also did special work in introducing the Woodcraft Program in the Industrial Home for Girls at Middletown, Conn., and the New York City School and Hospital at Randall’s Island.

Eleven States and Canada were visited. Included in this is the visit of Mr. Seton with the Culver Woodcraft School and Dillon Wallace also. Mr. Fagan’s work at the Boys’ and County Work Institutes at the Silver Bay Summer School, and with the Y.M. and Y.W.C.A. of Montreal. The type of place varied from private camp to those run by denominations, Working Girls’ Clubs, Settlements, Y.M.H.A., etc.

Woodcraft War Work.

“Potatriotism” is the new word coined by Dr. Frank Crane, the eminent writer, to fit the slogan sounded by Ernest Thompson Seton — “Put the Hoe Behind the Flag”. Not only Woodcraft League members, but pretty nearly everyone else in the land has heard the appeal to “Be a Potato Patriot”, and several thousands have joined Woodcraft Potato Clubs, while several hundreds of thousands have taken the cue from Mr. Seton’s call to the boys and girls, and not only these, but many adults have enlisted for the war in raising all the potatoes and other vegetables they can, thus “doing their bit” at home. Vacant lots and unused plots of ground all over the land have been put to use through the agency of the Woodcraft Potato Clubs. Other organizations for boys and girls have taken up the idea and are pushing it and if the abundance of potatoes this Fall and Winter keeps the price down and gives us enough to eat at home besides sending a lot to help feed Europe, it should be remembered that the Woodcraft Potato Clubs led in this notable movement.

Perhaps the outstanding illustration of this was in Monmouth County, N. J., where Mrs. Philip Lewisohn organized the entire county and 5) secured the planting of several thousand extra acres by farmers, and her Woodcraft Potato Club took over 60 acres for cultivation. Then a canning department was formed under Mrs. William Schoenfeld, which has put up no end of vegetables and fruit. The extent of the total operations in this one county may be judged by the size of the budget raised, $7,000, and by the fact that the Woodcraft League canning chef cleared $1,600, $800 of which was given to the local Red Cross and $800 divided between two local hospitals. Scarcely less notable was the work in Fairfield County, Conn., by the Farm Bureau working in co-operation with the Greenwich Branch. The Woodcraft League furnished seed potatoes for eleven (11) acres, under the able leadership of Mrs. Emerson Newell.

Altogether thirty-five States as well as Alaska were represented in the competition for prize flags and medals offered by the League for successful boy and girl potato raisers, the results of the contest not yet being known.

No less striking than the call for boy and girl patriots for potato raising was the warning sounded by Mr. Seton in the early Summer that child activities must not be stifled by the war. He called attention to the experiences in England and France, and appealed for the continuance of schools and every form of work for and with children and the prevention of all forms of exploitation of child life. The call has been taken up by many agencies and a favorable atmosphere for children’s work in war times has been created. Lord Northcliffe, the English war representative here, wrote Mr. Seton a letter warmly commending his appeal, and the League is cooperating with the Child Labor Bureau to aid in enforcing the new Child Labor Law which became operative September 1st, and is co-operating in many other such activities in the interests of the Nation.

Woodcraft girls have been enlisted in many agencies for “doing their bit”, and none more important than in signing and inducing others to sign the Hoover food pledge — saving as well as producing.

What Some Woodcrafters Are Doing

Much of the success of the Woodcraft Potato Club is due to the work of Jean Miller, who gave up several months of her time to the promotion of this important piece of war work.

Professor H. H. Horne spent the summer lecturing in a Training School for Y.M.C.A. War Secretaries at Blue Ridge, N. C. He is also Vice-President of the Leonia Loyal League.

Agnes Miller, the Chairman of the “Little Lodge” Committee, has enlisted as a Yeoman in the United States Navy and has been assigned to office and literary work.

Grace Thompson Seton is on several committees created to handle phases of war work:

Honorary President, Woman’s Committee, Council of National Defence.

Secretary, Connecticut Division Women’s Committee, Council of National Defence.

Vice-President, Connecticut Women’s Suffrage Association, whose war saving committee is doing very active work, among other things raising $6,400 for salaries of eight County Food Conservation Workers.

Mrs. Seton has accepted the invitation of the National Women’s Auxiliary to take charge of the next Liberty Loan campaign for the District of Columbia, and to formulate campaign plans which may serve as suggestions for town and city campaigns throughout the Nation, and will spend several wecks in Washington on this work.

Philip D. Fagans is on the National Committee on Farm Camps of the Working Boys’ Reserve.

F. H. Schmidt, in charge of boys’ camps, has enlisted in the regular army. Scores of the guides and others connected with the organization are in some phase of war work. It is apparent, therefore, that Woodcraft is having its part in the stirring events of these stirring days.

Woodcraft and an Army Man.

September 15, 1917.

Mr. Philip D. Fagans,

Woodcraft League of America, 13 West 29th St., New York City.

Dear Mr. Fagans : —

As regards “What Woodcraft Has Done For Me”, would say that, to my mind, its principal value lies in the sense of security and confidence it gives in meeting the numerous unexpected obstacles which present themselves in the business in which I am now engaged. Have often had occasion to use little tricks known to all Woodcrafters, such as arranging the blankets alternately so that no matter which way one rolled at night he would be winding one blanket around him; the knowledge that soap rubbed on the inside sole of the sock before a hike helps one’s feet; and the knowledge of cooking I had acquired came in very handy this past Summer — I was unexpectedly called upon to cook for seventeen men for a week, and managed to satisfy them all. It has often disturbed me when I consider how helpless most of the men in the regiments are in these and similar things. Have often remarked that the only advantage we have over Boy Woodcrafters is physical strength.

When I was obliged to stand guard on lonely posts in the day time I used to take a great deal of pleasure — and at the same time I passed the time which would otherwise have hung heavily — in identifying the birds that flew about. Also since coming here to Van Cortlandt we have taken several hikes and I have derived a great deal of pleasure on these occasions from endeavoring to identify the trees as we went along.

Could tell numerous other ways in which Woodcraft has helped me. I often wish that the squads I have in charge had had a Woodcraft education.

(Signed) ALEX. M. ROBB, Corporal 71st Inf., Co. E. Van Cortlandt Park, New York City.


Name of Tribe Organisation City Guide
Y.M.C.A. Paterson, N. J. Edmund B. Crandall
Oyongwa Calvary Baptist Church Washington, D. C. B. M. Des Jardins
Sunrise Y.M.C.A. No. Abington, Mass. Theo. F. Cooley
Forest Spirits Independent Buffalo, N. Y. Alma Shellbach
Thunder Canoe Lafayette Ave. Pres. Church Brooklyn, N. Y. R. J. Bergeman
Chadakaw Baptist Church Jamestown, N. Y. Rev. Otto F. Laegler
Y.W.C.A. Scranton, Pa. Julia Gethman
Y.M.C.A. Freeport, Ill. Frank Mumm
Christ Church Suffern, N. Y. Alice Cleveland
Plymouth Plymouth Church Worcester, Mass. Seth Greenleaf Smith
Mohawk St. Augustine Church New York City Dr. W. G. W. Anthony
Wyandotte Mt. Wor Pres. Church Rochester, N. Y. Robt. J. Drysdale
Independent Yonkers, N. Y. Balm Mann Hodgson
Pokahontas Public School New York City Louise Opitz
Y.W.C.A. Bellingham, Wash. J. Myrtle Smith
Ojibwa Independent Chicago, Ill. Jeanette Jacobs
The Winged Owl Camp Becket Becket, Mass. H. W. Gibson
Soan-ge-ta-ha Our Lady of Loretta R. C. Ch. Brooklyn, N. Y. Loretta Nicello
Y.M.C.A. Springfield, Mass. Wm. A. Stannard
Mohawk Independent New Pine Creek, Ore. Mrs. N. P. Jensen
Y.M.C.A. Haverhill, Mass. R. C. Curtis
Wohaug N. Y. Institution for Sub-Normal Children Randall’s Island Mrs. E. C. Bodman
Y.M.C.A. Attleboro, Mass. Roger A. Woodbury
Agokay N.Y. Institution for Sub-Normal Children Randall’s Island Katherine Houlehan
Glenwood 23d St. Y.M.C.A. Camp New York City R. A. Searfoss
Y.M.C.A Bridgeport, Conn. Louis Cope
Kinapik Camp Kinapik Lovell, Me. Harvey C. Went
Camp Wildwood Kineo, Me. Sumner R. Hooper
Moose-le-moo Camp Waramaug Dunmore, Vt. Stephen A. Breed
Elias Howe School Bridgeport, Conn. Leslie A. Wright
Algonquin Independent Richville, N. Y. Emile A. Walters
Camp Gahada Schenectady, N. Y. Wm. B. Efner
Unami Camp Delmont Philadelphia, Pa. Isaac C. Sutton
Camp Eagle Point Stinson Lake, N. H. Virginia E. Spencer
Delaware Y.W.H.A. Trenton, N. J. Sadie Goodstein
Harlee Camp Harlee Tyler Hill, Pa. Wm. Mitchell
Boys’ Camp Philadelphia, Pa. Ernest Schulz
Culver Woodcraft School Culver, Ind. Edwin Shepard Ford
Independent New Canaan, Conn. Harold B. Jones
Greenwood Camp Greenwood for Girls Greenwood Lake, N. J. Ruth Tapping
Cahuenga Independent Hollywood, Cal. Harold C. James
Wapomeo Y.M.C.A. Camp Toronto, Ont. Taylor Statten