Main content

LMHS.13: Boy Scout Troop Bala One photographs


Held at: Lower Merion Historical Society [Contact Us]506 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Box 2602, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, 19004

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Lower Merion Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

"Troop Bala One has a long and glorious tradition in both the Boy Scout movement and the Lower Merion community. In 1907, General Robert Baden-Powell, an English Army officer, took a group of lads to Brownsea Island, England. This was the first Boy Scout Camp. In 1908, he wrote a book called Scouting for Boys which had an international, instantaneous impact. Troops and patrols sprung up in England and, shortly thereafter, in Europe.

"The Boy Scout movement was slower to transition to the United States, except in the tiny town of Bala, Pennsylvania. Here, in 1908, a group of community leaders, headed by insurance executive Frank Sykes, organized America's first group of boys under the principles of scouting as set forth in Baden-Powell's book. Troop Bala One thus became the first unofficial Boy Scout troop in the U.S.

"The national umbrella organization, The Boy Scouts of America, was officially organized in February 1910. The following year, Troop Bala One was officially inducted with the alternate name of Troop 16. At that time, President William H. Taft was Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America and former President Theodore Roosevelt was Honorary VP."

As of 2011, the troop was still active.


The Lower Merion Historical Society. The First 300: The Amazing and Rich History of Lower Merion. Ardmore, Pa.: The Lower Merion Historical Society, 2000. Accessed October 28, 2011.

This collection is made up of photographs of the troop at various events, primarily the 50th anniversary celebration in 1961. The collection also includes photocopies of Boy Scouts ephemera.

On long-term deposit from Boy Scouts of America Bala Troop 1.

Lower Merion Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

Contact Lower Merion Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest