William Randolf Hearst
Keith Larson

Born on April 29, 1863 in San Francisco, CA.  In 1887, at age 23 he became "Proprietor" of the San Francisco Examiner.  This was the first acquisition in his future newspaper empire.  A member of the US House of Representatives (1903-07), he failed in attempts to become mayor and governor of New York.  His activist political and social issue editorial views made him the champion of his reading audience and promoted subscriptions.  He was the infamous inspiration for Orsen Well's film, "Citizen Kane."  Mr. Hearst died in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Aug. 14, 1951, at age 88.

The Castle that Hearst Built

So what does Mr. Hearst have to do with the Scouting Movement?

One of the competing organizations at the founding of the BSA was the American Boy Scouts (ABS).  The ABS was better known as the United States Boy Scouts (USBS).  William Randolph Hearst founded the USBS and promoted the program in his New York American newspaper.  The Boy Scouts of America offered to include the ABS organizing group but Hearst did not want to.

ABS incorporated in June, 1910 but Hearst soon became disillusioned.  By December, 1910 he had formally dropped his support for the USBS, publishing his reasons in his newspapers.  He had become concerned about the conduct of the Board of Directors and their fund-raising efforts.

The USBS also attempted to receive a federal charter in 1916 hampering the BSA's efforts along these lines.  In 1918, a New York Supreme Court consent decree was issued barring the USBS from using the terms "Boy Scout," "Scout" or "Scouting" or any variation.  At its folding, USBS reported themselves as having 200,000 members but other accounts indicate that it was about 3,000.

While the USBS competed with the BSA, there is little doubt that Mr. Hearst's open support of a Scouting program in the beginning served to promote the overall movement, especially among the common people who were his many newspaper's principle target audience.