Ernest Thompson Seton

1860-1946

Ernest Thompson Seton was born in South Shields, Durham, England but emigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 6.  His original name was Ernest Seton Thompson.  

His sketches as a youth won awards.  Consequently, he was sent to study art in London at The Royal Academy School of Painting and Sculpture.  Late he went to Paris for further study.  In 1881, he became the Naturalist for the government of Manitoba.

The Ladies Home Journal magazine asked him to write a series on woodcraft for boys.  The first article appeared in May, 1902.  On the first day of July in 1902, he founded the Woodcraft Indians.  He wrote a book, The Birchbark Rolls of the Woodcraft Indians as a guide for the program.  This book was sent to Baden-Powell in July of 1906 as a precursor to Seton's visit to England for a series of fall lectures.  On October 30th, the two men met at the Savoy Hotel..

He was Chief Scout from 1910 to 1915.  The original 1910 handook included 50 pages from Baden-Powell and 100 pages of Seton's writings.

Seton developed a plan for incorporating younger boys into Scouting in 1911.  Called "The Cubs of America", it used the bear cub as its symbol.  Disagreements among Scouting's founders over the value of the new program caused it to be set aside.

Seton had a falling out with James West and left the movement in 1915.  He disagreed with the military style set by Baden-Powell and West.  Seton then founded the Woodcraft League of America.  He later came back to help organize Cubbing for the younger boys.

Seton received the seventh Silver Buffalo award in 1926; the first year it was offered.

Ernest Thompson Seton Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Visit the Seton Centre in Manitoba, Canada


Books By Ernest Thompson Seton

Mammals Of Manitoba, 1886

Birds Of Manitoba, Foster, 1891

How to Catch Wolves, Oneida Community, 1894

Studies In Art: Anatomy of Animals, Macmillan, 1896

Wild Animals I Have Known, Scribners, 1898

The Trail of The Sandhill Stag, Scribners, 1899

Lobo, Rag, and Vixen, Scribners, 1899

The Wild Animal Play For Children (Musical), Doubleday & Curtis, 1900

The Biography of A Grizzly, Century, 1900

Lobo, 1900

Ragylug, 1900

Wild Animals I have Known, American Printing House For The Blind, 1900 (NY point system)

Four Books In Braille: Lobo, Redruff, Raggylug, Vixen, Pennsylvania Institution for the Blind, 1900

Lives of the Hunted, Scribners,1901

Twelve Pictures of Wild Animals (no text) Scribners, 1901

Krag and Johnny Bear, Scribners, 1902

How to Play Indian, 1903

Two Little Savages, Doubleday, 1903

How to Make A Real Indian Teepee, Curtis, 1903

How Boys Can Form A Band of Indians, Curtis, 1903

The Red Book, 1904

Monarch, The Big Bear of Tallac, Scribners, 1904

Woodmyth and Fable, Century, 1905

Animal Heroes, Scribners, 1905

The Birchbark Rolls of the Woodcraft Indians, 1906

The Natural History of the Ten Commandments, Scribners, 1907

Faun of Manitoba, British Assoc. Handbook, 1909

Biography of A Silver Fox, Century, 1909

Life-Histories of Northern Animals (2 Volumes), Scribners, 1909

The American Boy Scout, 1910

The Forester's Manual, Doubleday, 1910

The War Dance and the Fire-Fly Dance,  Doubleday, 1910

The Boy Scouts of America, a handbook, BSA, 1910

The Arctic Prairies, Scribners, 1911

Rolf In The Woods, Doubleday, 1911

The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore, 1912

The Red Lodge, private printing of 100 copies,1912

Wild Animals At Home, Doubleday, 1913

The Slum Cat, Constable (London), 1915

Legend of the White Reindeer, Constable (London), 1915

The Manual of the Woodcraft Indians, 1915

Wild Animal Ways, Doubleday, 1916

Woodcraft Manual for Girls, 1916

The Preacher of Ceder Mountain, Doubleday, 1917

Woodcraft Manual for Boys, 1917 ; the Sixteenth Birch Bark Roll by Ernest Thompson Seton. Published for the Woodcraft League of America, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page & Company, 1917. 441 pp., illus. and music.

The Woodcraft Manual for Boys, 1918; the Seventeenth Birch Bark Roll by Ernest Thompson Seton. Published for the Woodcraft League of America, Inc. Garden City, New York Doubleday, Page & Company, 441 pp. Illus. and music.

The Woodcraft Manual for Girls,1918; the Eighteenth Birch Bark Roll, Published for the Woodcraft League of America, Inc. Garden City, New York, Doubleday, Page & Company, 424 pp. Illus. and music.

Sign Talk of the Indians, Doubleday, 1918

The Laws and Honors of the Little Lodge of Woodcraft, 1919: 10 pp., 8 vo. Published at Cheyenne, Wyo., August. 4th edition.

The Brownie Wigwam, 1921; The Rules of the Brownies. Fun outdoors for boys and girls under 11 years of age. Woodcraft League of America, N. Y. 8 vo., 7 pp. 5th edition, the first being part of the Birch Bark Roll for 1906 

The Buffalo Wind, 1921

Woodland Tales, 1921

The Book of Woodcraft, 1921

The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore, 1922; Doubleday, Page & Co., 590 pp. More than 500 drawings by the author; 3rd edition of the 1912 issue, enlarged by the inclusion of "The Foresters Manual."

Bannertail:The Story of A Gray Squirrel, Scribners, 1922

Manual of the Brownies, 1922; Manual of the Brownies, the Little Lodge of the Woodcraft League of America. 6th edition. A pamphlet of 10 pp. Oct., New York.

The Ten Commandments in the Animal World, Doubleday, 1923

Animals, The Nature Library, Doubleday, 1926 (Color Plates)

Old Silver Grizzle, Hodder (London), circa 1927

Raggylug and Other Stories, Hodder (London), circa 1927

Chink and Other Stories, Hodder (London), circa 1927

Foam The Razorback, Hodder (London), circa 1927

Johnny Bear and Other Stories, Hodder (London), circa 1927

Lobo and Other Stories, Hodder (London), circa 1927

Animals Worth Knowing, (As Above), The Little Nature Library, Doubleday, 1928 (No Color Plates)

Lives of Game Animals (4 Volumes), Doubleday, 1925-1928

Blazes on The Trail, Little Peegno Press, 1928 (3 Pamphlets)

  1. Life Craft or Woodcraft

  2. Rise of the Woodcraft Indians

  3. Spartans of the West

Krag, The Kootney Ram and Other Stories, University of London Press, 1929

Billy the Dog That Made Good, Hodder (London), 1930

Cute Coyote and Other Stories, Hodder (London), 1930

Lobo, Bingo, The Pacing Mustang, State, 1930

Famous Animal Stories, 1932

Animals Worth Knowing, 1934

Johnny Bear, Lobo and Other Stories, (Modern Standard Authors) Scribners, 1935

The Gospel of the Redman, with Julia Seton, Doubleday, 1936

Biography of An Arctic Fox, Appleton-Century, 1937

Great Historic Animals, Scribners, 1937

Mainly About Wolves (Same as above), Methuen (London), 1937

Pictographs of the Old Southwest, with other authors, Cedar Rapids, 1937

Buffalo Wind, Private printing of 200, 1938

Trail and Camp-Fire Stories, 1940

Trail of an Artist-Naturalist: The Autobiography of Ernest Thompson Seton, Scribners, 1940

Santanna, The Hero Dog of France, Limited printing of 500 copies with 300 auotographed, Phoenix Press, 1945

The Best of Ernest Thompson Seton, 1949

Ernest Thompson Seton's America, 1954; Selections of the writings of the artist-naturalist. New York: Devin-Adair Co. 413 pages Edited with an intro by Farida A. Wiley

Animal Tracks and Hunter Signs, 1958

The Gospel of the Redman, 1958; with Julia M. Seton, Santa Fe NM: Seton Village


Also Books About Seton

The Chief; Ernest Thompson Seton and the Changing West by H. Allen Anderson

Ernest Thompson Seton: Man in nature and the Progressive Era, 1880-1915 by John H. Wadland

Ernest Thompson Seton, Scout and Nauralist by Wyatt Blassingame

Selected Stories of Ernest Thompson Seton by Patricia Morely

By 1000 Fires by Julia Seton, 1967

Black Wolf: The Life of Ernest Thompson Seton by Betty Keller, 1984 

The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry 1916-1949 As a New Age Alternative to the Boy Scouts by Derek Edgell


Back to Boy Scouts of America History & Traditions.  Please help me to complete Scoutings history.  E-mail any comments, questions, information, or stories to: randywoo@aol.com  Many thanks to my fellow Scout historians, the contributors that make this site an interesting place to visit.  This site is not sanctioned by The Boy Scouts of America. Last update August 10, 1996