Council Centennial, February 12, 2020

Edgar M. Foster

The formation of the Nashville Council brought with it the formation of Council management. As we’ve covered before, the first Scout Executive for the Council was Coach William J. Anderson. What we haven’t covered before is the Council’s first volunteer leader, Council President Edgar M. Foster.

Foster was a newspaper man at heart. He began working at age 8 as a paper boy for the Nashville Banner and continued working with the Banner for years, moving up to route manager, then circulation manager, and finally Business Manager of the paper. All by the time he was 24 years old. In 1924, he became owner of the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle for a few years, which his son managed.

Public service was an important part of Foster’s life. He was chairman of the YMCA building committee, a president of the Nashville Board of Trade (the forerunner to the Chamber of Commerce), and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. He had also been a deacon with the First Presbyterian Church since 1899. It was of course his work with the Nashville Rotary Club that led Foster to become president of the Nashville Council.

In fact, Foster was president of the Rotary Club when it conducted the $15,000 campaign to start a Scout Council in 1920. Upon the conclusion of the drive on Wednesday, March 10, 1920, Foster said, “This is the quickest campaign ever conducted in the history of Nashville, and the only really successful one since the war.” According to _The Nashville Tennessean_, the $15,000 drive raises $17,260 in two hours.

Foster was also known as a devoted husband and father. He was married for thirty years and “his married life has been prized as ideal.” He got along well with his son. “Resembling each other in appearance and in character, they seemed to grow more alike physically and mentally, and to grow closer to each other with the passing years.”

An unspecified ailment sent Foster to the hospital on Saturday, June 12, 1926. Complications from the surgery took Foster’s life. He died Sunday afternoon, June 20, 1926 at 1:30pm at 56 years old.

Sources:
“Goal Passed in Boy Scout Drive,” Nashville Tennessean, March 11, 1920, pg. 5
“Edgar M. Foster Undergoes Operation,” Nashville Tennessean, June 13, 1926, pg. 11
“Edgar M. Foster,” Nashville Banner, June 21, 1926, pg. 8
“Foster (obit),” Nashville Tennessean, June 21, 1926, pg. 10
“Many Friends of Edgar M. Foster Send Condolences,” Nashville Tennessean, Main Edition, June 22, 1926, pg. 1

Foster

Council portrait of Edgar M. Foster

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