The Staff Hat Project

Greetings All,

For at least 40 years, the staff hat has been an emblem at Boxwell, separating the staff from the Scouts.  We would like to recognize this history with a Special Exhibition page on

To do that, we need your help!

What we would like you to do is really quite simple: Take a photo of each of your staff hats and send it to us.  We don’t care what condition the hat is in.  It can be beat-up, formless, and dirty. A floppy hat is a well worn hat!

For the next month (until Labor Day), you can send the photos to us as an e-mail attachment, upload through Facebook, or use the address provided below to upload the photos to our Dropbox account.

Of course, there are a couple of ground rules we need you follow to make sure we get good photos.

1) The primary objective is to see the patch or embroidery on the hat.  Make sure the front of the hat is clear in your photo.  If the hat has some other symbol on it, we want to see that too, though it this will require another photo.  For instance, starting in 1997, many hats had “Staff” printed on the back.  The 2014 hat had “T.W.” on the site for “Tom Willhite.”

2) Give the hat some form (assuming it has none).  You can wear it or put a bowl or ball under it to give it some shape.  You are welcome to try a “selfie,” but remember, what we want is the hat and the front of the hat, not your smirking mug!  If you want to wear the hat, please have someone else take the photo.

3) “Clean” background.  A photo of an object is better when the background is a solid, neutral color.  Try to keep your background from being too “busy.”

4) Year, name, and nickname.  Obviously, we need to know what year the hat is from and your name so we can give proper credit if your photo is used on the page. Also, if the hat had a “nickname,” tell us that too.  (For instance, the 1986 hat was often called “the Amoco hat”).

5) No multiples.  In other words, don’t include multiple hats in the photo.  One hat per photo (make editing and cataloging MUCH easier).

See the below for examples.


We appreciate your help!  So, get up in your attic, dig out those hats and send us some photos of your most loved Boxwell treasure–your staff hat!

Grady Eades webmaster

1993 Staff hat1

The 1993 Staff Hat. Side angle.

1993 Staff hat 2

The 1993 Staff hat, front angle. Clear view of patch.

Naming the Unknowns, July 29, 2015

This week’s Naming the Unknown takes us back to Camp Stahlman, 1996.  The photo is from the collection of Roman Reese.  This is either the Activity Yard Staff or Davy Crockett Staff.  Given that Chris Davis is here (center, green), it is likely that this is Davy Crockett.  Either way, note that this is back in the days of program area staff sites.

So, who are the others in this photo?

Davy Crockett, 1996

Davy Crockett (possibly Activity Yard) Staff at Stahlman, 1996. Photo by Roman Reese.

From the Archives, July 26, 2015

Ike Davis

When Boxwell moved to Rock Island in 1949, a new cook was needed.  Walter Whittaker had served for 25 years and had moved on.  A new man was needed.

The man was Ike Davis.  Davis served as the principle cook at Rock Island and, unfortunately, we know very little about him.  In an interview from July 26, 2001, Ward Akers, Jr. explains that Ike did have a helper and the two of them did all the cooking and washed all the dishes–all by hand.  This meant preparing three meals a day for upwards of 200 people a week on a wood stove!

As for what Ike prepared… there’s some controversy there!   Akers, Jr. paints a pretty bleak picture of simple meals with just bologna and cheese for lunch.  Staff members at the time, such as Bob Alley and Wolf Goethert, claim the meals were more robust and quite tasty.  As Akers, Jr. was only about 8 at the time, we’ll trust Alley and Goethert on this one!

Ike Davis

Cook Ike Davis with his wood burning stove at Rock Island, ca. 1955. Scouts unknown.

Naming the Unknowns, July 22, 2015

This week’s unknowns brings up to a time a little more current than last week’s photo.  Here’s what we know: The photo is from Camp Craig, 2009.  Clearly, this is a flag ceremony and the time stamp of 7:48am tells us this is morning flag raising.  The folder is labeled as “Thomas.”

We know Lee Craft.  Who is everyone else?  Who is “Thomas” referring to here?

Picture 088

Photo by “Thomas.” Morning flag raising at Camp Craig, 2009.

From the Archives, July 19, 2015

Walter Whittaker

One of the most important people at the early Boxwells was the camp cook, Walter Whittaker.  Walter worked at both the Linton Boxwell as well as the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell.  Actually, his real job was at Vanderbilt University, where during the winters he cooked for a Vanderbilt fraternity house.  It is through Vanderbilt that William Anderson, head of Vanderbilt’s Track team and Executive of the Nashville Council, discovered him.

At Boxwell, Whittaker was know for his amazing rolls–something that is almost always written about him.  But that’s not all he did.  According to Boys Will Be Men, Whittaker “also doubled as music instructor, teaching spirituals and campfire songs” (51). Indeed, the story goes that Whittaker was SO good a cook that older Scouts often played a joke on new Scouts.  When Whittaker left on Saturdays to go home for the weekend, the older boys told the younger that Whittaker and Anderson had had a falling out and Whittaker would not be returning.  The younger boys were reported devastated by the news! (Boys Will Be Men, 52).

Of course, Whittaker didn’t just cook; he played horseshoes!  Shown on the OA film “A Day at Camp Boxwell” and in the council newsletter The Bugle, Whittaker often competed with the boys… when he wasn’t making his famous rolls!  Shown here is Walter Whittaker from The Bugle from October 1938.


Here is the famous Walter Whittaker playing horseshoes at the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell, approximately 1938.