Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Baden-Powell and Homosexuality - Long
Baden-Powell and Homosexuality - Long
Valerie and Charles Deneen
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:05:37 -0400
I subscribe to this service as well as the GSA equivalent. The following
thread is going through their "L" service that a newspaper is reporting t=
B-P was a homosexual, in response to the NJ ruling and subsequent states'
court cases pending.
I have answered their quieries with the following post.
I had emailed privately to 'Spiderjean@AOL.COM' but after reading some of
the "chats" and watching this thread start to unravel, I decided to "come
out of the closet" (joke intended) with reference to this subject.
Several points need to be made:
1. The suspicions of homosexuality of Lord Baden-Powell have been rooted =
his life long friendship with Kenneth McLaren. I have amassed a fairly
comprehensive collection of books, articles, etc of and by B-P;
additionally, I have done some research into areas of his background and
history. To the best of the knowledge that I have seen, again not being =
professional - but having done a fair amount of research, I have not seen
any substantiated evidence of B-P being homosexual.
2. There are many books out there in the world on Baden-Powell. They go
from the one extreme of walking on water, (Baden-Powell, The Two Lives of=
Hero, by William Hillcourt with consent and help of Lady Olave Baden-Powe=
G. P. Putnam's Sons, NY, 1964, LoC Card No. 64-24263) to the other extrem=
of vile, hateful thoughts and NOT SUBSTANTIATED rumors (Eminent Edwardian=
Piers Brendon, London 1979, pp. 217-218 and The Character Factory:
Baden-Powell and the Origins of the Boy Scout Movement, Michael Rosenthal=
London, 1986, p. 48.
3. The book, The Boy-Man, The Life of Lord Baden-Powell, by Tim Jeal,
William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1990, LoC Card No. 90-169711 =
been mentioned in some of the threads on this subject. This book is stil=
in print and obtainable. It is very well researched and extremely balance=
in the attempt to cover a very complicated and varied individual living i=
very complicated and varied world and time. It does NOT state AT ALL, EV=
that Baden-Powell was homosexual. This subject is covered quite thorough=
in Chapter 3, entitled Men's Man. This chapter deals with the
association(s) of the Victorian times, Great Britain and the world, the
British Army, etc. I would like to quote from the text of the book, pp.
82 - 83 as a summation of the author and his research:
" The facts I have assembled point to a close and long-standing friendshi=
which ended after 30 years with a second marriage [on McLaren's part] whi=
Baden-Powell could not accept. There is no evidence to justify the claim
that the friendship between Baden-Powell and McLaren was physical.
" Strong emotional relationships were thought perfectly normal and
acceptable between men during the nineteenth century, and there are many
examples of writers celebrating one man's love for another without fear o=
being thought improper=85.
" The Victorian concept of manly love has its roots in a tradition
stretching back to ancient Greece, and to the chivalric love between
medieval knights. Its revival in nineteenth-century England met the need=
of a society in which most 'gentlemen' married late for economic reasons,
and in which many clergymen, schoolmasters, dons and army officers remain=
bachelors all their lives. Inevitably their friendships with other men
became emotionally vital to them. Close and 'pure' friendships were
encourage as deliberate policy in the public schools until the mid-1880s =
an antidote to homosexual 'beastliness'; and among mature men the idea wa=
commonplace that because such 'comradeships' were free from the 'grossly
carnal' reproductive acts associated with the love of women, they were
Mr. Jeal was assisted in his tome by no less than:
Mr. Francis Baden-Powell (B-Ps great nephew)
Boy Scouts of America archivist
Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive (J. L. Tarr)
British Scout Association Chief Executive Commissioner (K. H. Stevens)
Mrs Antonia Eastman (great niece of Lady Baden-Powell)
The Honorable Mrs. Gervas Clay (nee Betty Baden-Powell, daughter)
The late Honorable Mrs. John King ( nee Heather Baden-Powell, daughter)
Various personal secretaries of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell
Please do not take my response to this as a "whitewash" of B-P; rather it=
necessary to remember when events took place as well as what social mores
are/were in place. It is also rather repugnant that Scouting must endure
this type of attack, without any foundation. Perhaps it reflects our tim=
and place in social mores and attempt by those practicing "other social
paths" to legitimize their way of living.
Yours in Scouting, Boy and Girl Scouts