The Field and Forest Handy Book:

New Ideas for Out of Doors

Daniel C. Beard was not only a founder of Boy Scouting in America, but also a prolific and engaging author. His great passion was making boys and girls feel at home in nature, to allow them to experience its wonders while fostering their sense of self-sufficiency and independence. The present volume introduces young people to the pleasures and challenges of camping. In it, Beard suggests any number of projects, plans, and schemes to entertain those whose travels take them into open fields and forests, who want to know everything from how to build kites and birdhouses to snow houses and snow men.

There are chapters on packing a horse, on making clothes and moccasins, on camp cooking, on building piers, boats, and sleds. As usual, the directions are clear, the diagrams simple, and the activities seductive. This is an age when the most common phrase one hears from children is “I’m bored.” With this book in hand, you can send them into the smallest woodland plot and be sure they’ll have an activity that will occupy them for hours, as well as projects that are not only fun to do but that actually work.

See also The American Boy’s Handy Book and The American Girls Handy Book.

This title is now available as an eBook through Google Play.

Before he became a scouting pioneer by starting the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, Beard was an artist. He was encouraged in this pursuit from an early age; his father, mother, and uncle were all successful artists. In the 1860s, he left his boyhood home in Kentucky to attend art school in New York City, where he joined the Student Art League and befriended illustrious personages such as Ernest Thompson Seton, Mark Twain, and Ernest Cosby. Beard would later illustrate books for Twain and Cosby, among many other authors.

The Sons of Daniel Boone began in a column Beard wrote for a magazine he edited, Recreation. He later moved his column to Woman’s Home Companion, which secured the rights to the group’s name and kept them after the column’s later move to Pictorial ReviewBeard thus changed the name to the Boy Pioneers of America. The renamed group kept its curriculum of healthful exercise and the outdoors traditions of American frontier life, a curriculum that influenced the Boy Scouts of America when the groups merged in 1910. Beard also encouraged girls to get involved in the outdoors lifestyle through his work with his sisters Lina and Adelia Beard, who wrote The American Girls Handy Book and helped start the Camp Fire Girls.