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Guide to the George I. Williams Boy Scouts of America collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: George I. Williams Boy Scouts of America collection
    Dates: 1910-2004
    Bulk Dates: 1993-2004
    Collection number: MS0033
    Creator: Williams (George I.)
    Collection Size: 9 linear feet (9 boxes + 1 oversized map drawer)
    Repository: Center for Sacramento History
    Sacramento, California 95811-0229
    Abstract: The George I. Williams Boy Scouts of America collection is a collection assembled by George I. Williams, an eagle scout and a life-long member of the Boy Scouts of America. The collection ranges from 1910 to 2004 with a concentration of records ranging from 1993-2004. The first box contains five logbooks ranging from 1942-1966. These large, bound books contain a wealth of information about the Boy Scouts in the Sacramento region. The second distinct group is the handbooks and manuals ranging from 1910-1995. The scouting manuals were distributed nationally and are vital to understanding to continuous development and refinement of the Boy Scouts of America. The final distinct group is the annual collections ranging from 1993-2004. Each year is contained within the own folder and contains both local and national materials related to the Boy Scouts of America.
    Physical location: 50I1, 50I4-5, 50H9, 55C1
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research use.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item and/or item number], [box and folder number], George I. Williams Boy Scouts of America collection, MS0033, Center for Sacramento History.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection donated by Alan O’ Connor, a friend of George I. Williams, to the Center for Sacramento History in 2005.

    Processing Information

    George I. Williams Boy Scouts of America Collection processed by Shaun D. Strobridge, 2009. Finding Aid was prepared by Shaun D. Strobridge, 2009.

    Biography / Administrative History

    George I. Williams was a life-long member of the Boys Scouts of America. Williams earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He served on multiple ships that sailed under the Golden Empire Council. He even served as the skipper of the S.S.S. Sacto in 1946. Williams also served in the military. George I Williams was the first member of the Golden Empire Council to receive the Sea Scout Quartermaster Award and the George Meany Award.
    George I. Williams took on multiple roles through his years in the Boys Scouts. Moving from Eagle Scout, to Skipper, and finally to the position of Council Historian. He was part of a ten member Council History Committee and helped to develop and publish a seventy-five year history of the Golden Empire Council which is part of his collection.
    As a Council historian George I. Williams worked to gather all records pertaining to the history of the Golden Empire Council and Scouting nationwide. He collected manuals, magazines, letters, ephemera, patches, pins, logbooks, and other materials that recorded the Boy Scouts’ existence in the Sacramento Region. George I. Williams created displays of Scout patches that were put on display at scouting functions. In addition to collecting on a local level, Williams was also an active participant in the Scout memorabilia trade. He used this system to acquire materials not just for himself, but for others who also wished to collect and preserve the history of the Boy Scout of America.
    In 1916 Troop 1 was organized by W. George Spillman in Sacramento. By 1919, twenty-one troops existed in the Sacramento region. In 1920 a formal council was created to develop and promote scouting in Sacramento and the surrounding areas. The first annual scouting demonstration, now known as the Scout-o-Rama, was held in 1921. Cortex Monete Kitchen became the council’s first Eagle Scout.
    In 1922 the Sacramento Lions’ Club donated land along the American River for scouts to use it later becomes Camp Pollock. 1923 the first Sea Scout ship for the council was registered with eighteen sea scouts. In 1923 the council embarked on a vast expansion and annexed Amador, southern Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties into the new Sacramento Council District. This was done because in 1922 the council expanded to include all of Sacramento County which succeeded in improving services. In 1924 Eagle Scout Robert Harkness attended the world jamboree in Denmark, one of only 56 nationwide. The 1922 expansion ran into problems and in 1924 Sacramento District Council divided into four councils: Sacramento Council, Buttes Area Council, Tahoe District Council and Kit Carson Council.
    In 1937 the Sacramento Council changed its name to the Golden Empire Council. In 1940 troop 32 sets a record for the most Eagle Scout promotions in one ceremony relative to troop size; 9 boys became Eagle Scouts. In 1946 the Golden Empire Council incorporated. In 1963 local troops participated in the American River Clean-up Week. In 1965 scouts participated in distributing 100,000 charity “good turn” bags as a community service project. In 1966 troop 372 cleaned Taylor Creek, a salmon spawning ground.
    The Golden Empire Council merged with the Tahoe Area Council in 1971. During the 1970’s boy scouts again came under fire because their uniforms were similar to military uniforms. In 1991 Golden Empire Council began to receive support from the local community for its in-school scouting program. This program focused on less privileged children in inner cities. Major donors include the Purple Heart Veterans Association, UNOCAL, and the law firm of Weintraub, Genshlea, and Sproul. In 1992 Mt Lassen Area Council and the Buttes Area Council merged with Golden Empire Council in another attempt to consolidate and improve services.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The George I. Williams Collection contains six distinct series ranging from 1910-2004. Series #1 focuses on logbooks, a total of five ranging from 1942-1966. These are perhaps the most valuable and informative of all the series in the collection because it tracks the daily/weekly operations aboard the vessel and the scout troop that operated it. The focus is strictly on scouting in the Sacramento region. In addition to acting as a log book for the vessel they also served as a scrapbook tracking the troop’s history. Materials contained within include rosters with required dues, newspaper clippings, photographs, permits, charters, maps, diagrams, letters, invoices, ephemera, and letters. A high percentage of these logbooks were created during World War II. This series would be useful for researching the history of Boy Scouts in the Sacramento region during World War II. When received the logbooks appeared to have no apparent order thus they were arranged in chronological order.
    The scrapbook series includes six scrapbooks documenting the activities of George I. Williams as a member of the Golden Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The scrapbooks contain photographs, newsletters, programs, badges, membership cards, and newspaper clippings documenting the Boy Scouts in the Sacramento region.
    The third series in the collection focuses on handbooks and manuals used by the Boy Scouts which ranges from 1910-1995. The series is further divided into 5 sub-series; each was arranged in chronological order since no clear organization was apparent when the collection was received. The series was subdivided because the manuals were distinct enough that such an arrangement was warranted because it highlights the different aspects and branches of the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scout handbook sub-series range from 1910-1979. The Sea Scout handbook sub-series range from 1936-1966. The Air Scout handbook sub-series range from 1943-1958. The adult/troop leader handbook sub-series range from 1925-1971. The final sub-series, group histories and yearbooks, ranges from 1931-1995. This series does not focus specifically on the Sacramento region since these manuals were produced and distributed nationwide. The series is useful however for studying the development and refinement of the Boy Scouting program through these manuals.
    The fourth series focuses on oversized objects and contains one box of boy scout badges and 1 certificate. A Silver Beaver certificate awarded to George I. Williams in 1971. This record would be useful for developing a biography of George I. Williams or as part of a study focusing on Boy Scout awards.
    The fifth series is photographic negatives and contains one item. A negative taken on May 23, 1959; was taken during the Scout-O-Rama gathering. This record would be useful for developing a biography of George I. Williams or development of a history on the Scout-O-Rama gathering which occurs annually.
    Annual collections are sixth and final series in the George I. Williams Collection. This series ranges from 1993-2004 and is divided into eleven separate folders which contain records for a specific year. When the collection was received the records were separated by year but no organization existed with the folders. Each folder was individually arranged by group specific records together in chronological order. The original filing structure has been maintained but is now much easier to navigate. The contents of each folder will vary slightly from year to year but most contain the following types of records which focuses on both nationals and regional boy scout history: Boy Scouts of America magazine, Boy Scout catalog, Boy Scout memorabilia catalog, letters received, letters sent, ephemera, newspaper clippings, invoices, local scout newsletters, photographs, and artifacts in the form of patches and pins. This series multiple uses including the study of the scout memorabilia trade, Boy Scout award ceremonies and social functions in Sacramento, and drafting a biography of George I. Williams.


    Series 1. Logbooks Series 2. Scrapbooks Series 3. Handbooks and manuals Series 4. Silver Beaver certificate and badges Series 5. Photographic negative Series 6. Annual collections

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Boy Scouts of America. Troop 1 (Davis, Calif.)
    Boy Scouts of America--History.
    Boy Scouts of America--Handbooks, manuals, etc.