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Herbert Hoover, the Masons and the Boy Scouts

Timothy Walch, Director of the Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, writes: "Although Herbert Hoover was a member and officer of many organizations - most notably the Boys Clubs of America - I have never seen or heard of any evidence that he was a member of the Masons. There is no evidence of Masonic membership among his papers at the Hoover Presidential Library."

My comment: Hoover was born in 1874, so he was 34 when Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts in 1908. Did they ever meet? Certainly their ideas were similar; they were the last flower of Victorian ideals. Like Hoover, the Boy Scouts have been unfairly criticized. The kids who shoot up schools are certainly not Boy Scouts. Both men were "uncommon men". Hoover is blamed for the Depression. Really, it was the age which was to blame, the age of jazz and nonsense. Had all Americans been like Hoover, the Depression would not have hit so hard and there would have been a deep sense of solidarity among rich and poor. Why did Baden-Powell organize the Boy Scouts? When I was a boy, people were still taking about the relief of Mafeking in South Africa, where Baden-Powell held out for 217 days when it was besieged by the Boers. That was a model of solidarity against great odds.

Ronald Hilton - 1/6/02