Green Bar Bill

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The "Hiking With Green Bar Bill" articles which appeared in Boys' Life beginning in October, 1932, were published anonymously (with "... ? ..." or "..." or "?" for the author).

Thanks to Nelson R. Block (editor/publisher, Journal of Scouting History) for the following information (2/5/2002) about Green Bar Bill - William Hillcourt, and for the reprint of his biographical essay (below):

The "Hiking with Green Bar Bill" feature was by William Hillcourt, who worked for the editorial department at BSA. He became the best known Scout leader of the last quarter century.
The idea behind "Green Bar Bill" was that it was advice from an experienced patrol leader (the patrol leader's emblem is two green bars). Bill wanted to be anonymous so that the boys reading his column would picture him as a contemporary, rather than an adult. I'm not sure any kids ever bought that, but the moniker was very popular. His column ran until the 1980's, and still appears sometimes, substantially rewritten, in Boys' Life.
He was born in 1900 in Aarhus, Denmark, came to the U.S. in 1926, and died in 1992, in Sweden, on the last leg of a round-the-world trip. The next day of his trip would have taken him back to Denmark for a visit.

more: William Hillcourt - "Scoutmaster to the World" by Nelson R. Block.

more Green Bar Bill on the web:


I suddenly found myself an assistant editor of Boys' Life responsible for editing its Scouting sections and writing a monthly feature of MY own. What should it be? I decided on a page of hints for patrol leaders. To make it more exciting, it should be written by a mysterious person. By what name? The patrol leader's badge in those days was a square of cloth with two green bars embroidered on it. I took those bars, added my nickname and became Green Bar Bill in the October 1932 issue of Boys' Life.
William Hillcourt
The Life of a Serendipitist