Trying to find one drawing to encapsulate the work of Beany Elam is like trying to find one Beatles song that exemplifies the entire catalog; it can’t be done. Indeed, we could easily spend the rest of the year simply showcasing Elam’s work and never quite capture it completely.
Nevertheless, this week we make an attempt to demonstrate the artistry of Beany Elam to those who may not be familiar. Elam was a prolific sketcher. From more detailed drawings like this one to caricatures of individuals he worked with to simple stick man drawings, Elam was constantly creating.
This drawing is one of many Elam completed for the various Woodbadge sections he was involved with. This particular drawing was for MT-3 in 1956. Elam was Scoutmaster of this Rock Island Woodbadge training. The initials carved in the tree are the staff for Mt-3 (D.S. for Don Starin, E.D.R. for Ed D. Roberts, J.G. for Jim Gray, B.E. for Beany Elam, Y for Wayne Yearwood).
Artwork created by Beany Elam for MT-3 at Rock Island, 1956.
“Avoid Politics, Scouters Advised”
As the Council announced Silver Beaver recipients this week, it seems appropriate to show an article doing the same from a few years back. Despite the title of the article, the subject is actually quite straight-forward. After pointing out the Silver Beaver recipients, the article goes on to identify the newly elected Council officers. 1953 was apparently a big year!
“Avoid Politics, Scouters Advised,” The Tennessean, February 10, 1953, pg. 7.
Woodbadge Staff, MT-1
If you’re going to go through a collection of materials from Harry “Beany” Elam, it seems appropriate that you present something on Woodbadge. After all, the Woodbadge area at Boxwell is named for Elam.
Elam attended Woodbadge 34 when it was Rock Island (Elam claims this was 1952, while Creighton’s _Boys Will Be Men_ says 1951). From there, Elam officially completed his “ticket” in January 1954 and was then certified to become a Woodbadge Course Director in May 1954. Thus, Elam became the first Scoutmaster for Middle Tennessee Council Woodbadge, MT-1, also held at Rock Island. MT-1 lasted one week, from July 31 to August 8.
Pictured here is the staff of MT-1, which included Elam as Scoutmaster (third from right), Ted Childress of Mississippi as ASM, Jim Cray of Clarksville as ASM, Ed Roberts of Nashville as SPL, Robert Davis of Clarksville as QM, and Wayne Yearwood as QM. There were only three patrols in MT-1: Bouncing Bobwhites, War Eagles, and Fabulous Furry Foxes. Among those participating in MT-1 included Hershel Tolbert (later to be Council Executive) and John Green of Troop 137 in Franklin, TN.
The very first Middle Tennessee Council Woodbadge Staff at Rock Island, 1954. The tall skinny man third from right is Harry “Beany” Elam.
Babe Ruth Joins the Scouts, 1932
This is not exactly Middle Tennessee Council news or history, but as baseball season just started, this seemed appropriate…
“Ruth Joins Scouts And Will Do Good Turn Daily,” The Tennessean, February 13, 1932, pg. 8.
Capital Campaign Mailing, 1959
Last month we received a special treat. Thanks to former Stahlman and Craig Program Director Ian Romaine, we got a copy of what we are calling the “Stevens-Elam Collection.” In other words, this is a collection of images and documents from former Council President Jimmy Stevens and long-time Woodbadge guru Beany Elam.
The collection is varied, including newspaper clippings and letters. But it contains some real jewels we hope to showcase as well, including artwork from Beany Elam himself, as well as quite a bit of early Woodbadge material. There are also a handful of photos of different Boxwell and Council events that we haven’t run across anywhere else.
To kick things off, we wanted to share a mailing from the 1959 Capital Development Campaign. We’ve shown images of the early planning of Boxwell before. We even have an entire Special Exhibit dedicated to it. But this is new. This gives us an idea of how the pieces fit together and how “new Boxwell” was pitched and envisioned. You’ll note that this is yet another early vision of Boxwell would turn out… one that didn’t quite match the reality that we all know.
A mailing from the Council presenting the vision for the Old Hickory Lake Boxwell.