Boys' Life Magazine


In 1911, George S. Barton, of Somerville, Massachusetts, founded, edited, and published the first edition of Boys' Life magazine, calling it Boys' and Boy Scouts' Magazine. He was not referring to the Scouts we envision today but to the three major competing Scouting organizations of the time: the American Boy Scouts, New England Boy Scouts, and Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Barton's first issue of Boys' Life was published on January 1, 1911. "Volume 1, Number 1" was printed on the magazine's flag. However, very few of the 5,000 printed copies actually reached the public. The more commonly accepted first edition was published on March 1, 1911, following its expansion from eight to 48 pages, a reduction in page size, and the addition of a two-color cover.

To promote its "Learning to Read" program, the BSA purchased Boys' Life from the George S. Barton & Company on June 10, 1912, for $6,000. The first Boys' Life magazine edited at the BSA national office was the July 1912 issue. Dr. James E. West, then Chief Scout Executive, served as the BSA's first editor of the publication.


Boys' Life Special Features

  • Adventure Stories
  • Bank Street Classics
  • Entertainment
  • Environmental Issues
  • History
  • Sports
  • Codemaster


  • Bible Stories
  • Pedro
  • Pee Wee Harris
  • Scouts in Action
  • Tiger Cubs
  • Webelos Woody

Feature Columns

  • Electronics
  • Entertainment
  • Fast Facts
  • History
  • Hitchin' Rack With Pedro the Mailburro
  • Science
  • Scouting Around
  • Sports


Alex Haley, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Van Wyck Brooks, Ernest Thompson Seton, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Robert Hienlein, Harrison Salzbury, Isaac Asimov, John Tolan, Margaret Coit, John Knowles.
Artists and Photographers:
Norman Rockwell, Salvador Dali, Ansel Adams, Philippe Halsman, Joseph Csatari.
Noteworthy Testimonials:
Orville Wright, Margaret Mead, Admiral Richard Byrd, Pearl S. Buck, Bobby Fischer
Boys' Life Staff Members:
J. Warren Young, publisher
J. D. Owen, editor in chief
James B. Wilson Jr., associate publisher


With an annual subscription rate of $9 for members and $18 for nonmembers, Boys' Life is one of the nation's least expensive youth magazines.


Paid circulation90,154,380
Boys' Life magazines printed1,101,860,550
Total publications issued 1,068
Total pages of Boys' Life72,864

For More Information

For more information about Boys' Life magazine, visit their Web site:

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