Lone Scout: W. D. Boyce and American Boy Scouting is the biography of a Progressive-era Chicago businessman and world- wide explorer. Paralleling Theodore Roosevelt in many activities, during his lifetime Boyce (1858-1929) attained international prominence ---"a man with friends in almost every civilized country." His sustaining legacy, also a reflection of Roosevelt's interests and concern for children, was bringing the concept of Boy Scouting to the United States and combining it with youth programs established by the YMCA and other organizations. This is the first authoritative biography of William D. Boyce, founder in 1910 of the Boy Scouts of America.
Born to a Pennsylvania farm family, Boyce's monetary successes were as a Chicago newspaper publisher. Between 1887 and the early 1930s, his periodicals were read by millions of subscribers in rural and small-town America.
A lifelong adventurer, Boyce made extensive trips to all parts of the world. During World War One, he traveled to Europe on the British luxury liner Lusitania (three months before it was torpedoed by a German submarine).He made two African safaris and spent nearly
a year traversing South America. Sending detailed reports of those foreign experiences as articles for his newspapers, the stories were later reprinted in books published by Rand McNally & Company.
Among the last hugely successful turn-of-the-century entrepreneurs, Boyce amassed a fortune valued in 1916 at $20 million (approximately $328 million in 2003 value). Perhaps because his death in 1929 occurred on the brink of the Great Depression--a time of vast economic and political change, W. D. Boyce has been virtually forgotten in American history. Yet his accomplishments were many, and his lasting gift is the Scouting program he initiated in 1910 and helped finance through the early years, a program that today serves more than four million American boys.
"I enjoyed reading the Boyce manuscript....Great job....at presenting his life in the context of the American industrial revolution and progressive era....This is a very interesting and important story." Michael J. Devine, Director - Harry S. Truman Presidential Library
"Janice Petterchak is well-equipped to write this biography of W. D. Boyce. She is an indefatigable researcher who has published several biographies of similar characters who have been lost to history. She writes well and has an editor's exquisite touch." Mark A. Plummer, Professor Emeritus - Illinois State University
"...Janice Petterchak serves up an engaging biography of Boyce .......sketches him head-on, balancing his shadowy compulsions with the compassions of an ardent social reformer. ...the portrait Petterchak gives us is compelling, honest and memorable." Illinois Heritage, July-August 2003.