Boy Scout Jamboree, 1953

I have not posted to the blog for ages; too many things got in the way, I am afraid.  But I am back! On Thursday of this week, we received the most remarkable scrapbook. It was created by a young man from Wethersfield, Connecticut, Andrew Twaddle, who in 1953 took a cross-country train trip to attend a Boy Scout Jamboree in California. The scrapbook, like many from the first half of the 20th century is on very acidic and poor quality paper that crumbles when you touch it. Everything is affixed to the pages with cellophane tape that has yellowed and dried. Typical. It is the contents that is not so typical. This young man included a catalog for boyscout uniforms (G. Fox & Co. was the official outlet for Boy Scout equipment), the flyer for the jamboree, notes on the exciting things he saw while on the train, a diary (!), lots of newspaper clippings made by his aunt who lived in California, postcards to his parents, and, believe it or not, a cover for his flashlight that would make it glow red during one of the ceremonies.

I remember my brothers in Scouts, but I do not think they attended anything this big. What a wonderful experience it must have been for a pre-teen boy. Now we can preserve that experience here at CHS.

8 thoughts on “Boy Scout Jamboree, 1953

  1. Our scrapbook is one boy’s perspective of the Jamboree. I don’t recall seeing anything about Illinois. There must be someone “out there” who would have that information. The trick will be in trying to locate him.

  2. I was an 11 year old boy from Arab,Al. who attended the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree. A group from our area went on 4 buses and camped along the way at military bases. A picture was made of me and another scout from Alaska. I was the shortest scout and the boy from Alaska was the tallest scout. Wish I had a copy of the picture. That was a time in my life I will always remember. Wish I could hear from others who went or find out how to get more information on the jamboree.

    • Maybe the Boy Scouts themselves would be interested in having a reunion for the boys who went to the 1953 Jamboree. Too late for a 50th anniversary, but not too early to plan a 60th!


      • See my entry below. The California scouts did have one in 2003 for about 500 participants. I attended.

  3. I was 13 in 1953 and went with 30 other scouts from Liberty, Texas (3,000 people town east of Houston) on the train to Irvine California for the 3rd National Scout Jamboree. The train came through Liberty going west. We stopped in El Paso, going over into Juarez, and at Grand Canyon, and saw the Rose Bowl after we got off the train in Los Angeles. We had a great time although several of our scouts developed mumps from exposure at an earlier training camp. So several of our scouts had their pictures in newspapers across the nation, showing off their mumps in the camp hospital. We saw shows with movie stars and swam in the cold Pacific Ocean. After we got back a scout coming through Liberty on a group train found for Birmingham, Alabama cut his hand on the train and spent several days in the Liberty, Texas hospital, where all our scout mothers and scouts gave him a lot of attention until he departed for Birmingham. We never had a reunion of our troop, but in 2003 in Dallas where I moved after college in Austin (Texas), I realized that this was the 50th anniversary upcoming for the California Jamboree. I checked with the national scout office (that happens to be located in Irving, Texas just outside Dallas) and found that there was to be a reunion at Disneyland although preparations were being made for only about 500 attendees, primarily from California. I attended the main dinner for the reunion, where the bugler from the Jamboree was present as well as one of the nurses from the camp hospital, who of course remembered the Liberty scouts with mumps and called at least one of them by name afte 50 years. I thought of the Jamboree because I have a friend in Dallas who is going to attend the national jamboree this next week. I’m going to send my 1953 neckerchief with him, as it’s been with me these 57 years and attended the reunion in California. My Email is and The neckerchief shows to be worth about $ 27 on Ebay by the way. “When the camp fire’s burning bright in the the deep blue night, beneath the skies of California, there’ll be scouts from everywhere, we’ll make friends and fill the air, with scouting songs in California.” Does anyone remember more of the words to this 1953 Jamboree song ? All the best.

  4. My father did not attend- he couldnt afford to.. but I am trying to find out information regarding his boy scout troop- Park Ridge Illinois Troop 1- any suggestions on how to find this history?

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