Now we know what she looked like: Catherine Pollard, first woman Scoutmaster

January 9, 2013

Some weeks ago I was looking for a good photograph of the late Catherine Pollard, the woman who became the first well-known de facto woman Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America.  Ms. Pollard filled in in 1973 through 1975, when no one else could step into the job.  This was back in the pre-intelligent Anthropocene, however; BSA’s National Council refused to accept her paperwork to be Scoutmaster, officially.  Officially, BSA didn’t allow women to serve in that role.

Times changed.  In 1988 BSA got smart and changed the rules so women could serve as Scoutmasters.  Some alert person remembered Pollard’s fight to get recognition a decade earlier.  Pollard was asked to sign up officially as the first woman Scoutmaster in 1988, and she did.

Now, I don’t recall why I needed it then, but there is an entire period of history prior to 1980, and for about 20 to 25 years before that, that is missing from internet archives.  We need to do a better job of finding non-digital and non-digitized sources of photos, graphics, and other information from post-World War II times, and get them posted on the web, for the sake of history.

A kind reader named Brian sent us this photo.  Thank you, Brian.

First BSA woman Scoutmaster, Catherine Pollard of Milford, Connecticut

Catherine Pollard, first woman Scoutmaster in BSA history; in uniform with Troop 13 of Milford, Connecticut, in 1973 and 1975, unofficially. In 1988, when BSA changed rules, they asked Ms. Pollard to be the first registered Scoutmaster. Scoutmaster Pollard died in 2006.

To the memory of Catherine Pollard, whose bugle called dozens of youth to a lifetime of service, though there were those who thought she shouldn’t be tooting the horn at all.

(Y’all got other photos out there you should be sharing?  Send ‘em in.)


January 9 – fly your flag today for Connecticut statehood

January 9, 2013

There were not states at all, yet.  But on January 9, 1788, Connecticut became the fifth of the 13 colonies to ratify the proposed Constitution for the United States of America.  Within 12 months, four more colonies ratified the document, making it effective.  When the government of the new nation started functioning in 1789, Connecticut was counted as the fifth state.

Connecticut capitol building, Hartford

Capitol building for Connecticut in Hartford; this photo is from the rear of the building, so the U.S. flag is flying correctly on its own right. The building was completed in 1878. The dome is covered in gold. Image from Wikimedia Commons

To avoid political scheming by anti-federalist colony governors, especially Patrick Henry in Virginia, in September 1787 James Madison proposed that the draft constitution be ratified not by legislatures in the colonies, but instead by a specially-called convention of the people of the colony.  Connecticut’s convention met first on January 3, 1788, and with six days of discussion and debate, passed a resolution of ratification on January 9.

So by tradition, January 9 is Connecticut’s statehood anniversary.  According to U.S. law, citizens and residents of a state should fly their flags on statehood anniversaries.

More:

Carol Highsmith photo of Connecticut's Hall of Flags

Hall of Flags in the Connecticut State Capitol Building; photo by the great photo-historian Carol Highsmith, from the Library of Congress collection; the statue is Connecticut’s Civil War Governor, William A. Buckingham (1804-1875), honored for his personal contributions to the equipping of Connecticut’s men fighting in the Civil War;.


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