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Boy Scout With Byrd - Primary Sources

Boy Scout Call for Antarctic Expedition Applications

This is a flier sent to Boy Scout troops across the nation in 1928. It details Byrd's upcoming mission and encourages Boy Scouts to apply for a position with the crew. What does Byrd's request for a Boy Scout tell you about the Boy Scott organization in 1928?

Boy Scout Selection Letter

This letter was written to Byrd in August of 1928. It discusses some of the key attributes to be considered when choosing a Boy Scout. What were the most important qualities this evaluator considered when choosing the Boy Scout? 

Boy Scout Letter to Byrd

This document is a letter written by a Boy Scout to Byrd shortly before the first expedition. Who is this Boy Scout and what does he ask for? What does this request tell you about the Byrd expedition? 

Boy Scout Evaluation Letter

The following letter details comments made about a particular Boy Scout's application. What criteria was used to judge the applications? What qualities were they looking for in a Boy Scout? 

Bill Witt: The Applicant That Wouldn't Take No for an Answer

These documents describe various interactions with rejected applicant Bill Witt after he was denied the chance to join Byrd's expedition. Describe the process that takes place after Witt is rejected. What does his reaction tell you about the mission?

Boy Scout Final Selection Memo

This document describes the final selection process of the Boy Scout chosen to accompany Byrd to Antarctica. What does this document tell us about the process of the final selection? And how did the Boy Scout organization make their decision? 

Paul Siple Application Letter

This document is an application letter written by an Allegheny College student in which he details his qualifications for the expedition. What does this tell you about the types of individuals that applied for the Boy Scout position? Was this applicant accepted or rejected? 

Memo to Accepted Applicants for Final Examination

This is a copy of the memo sent to the six applicants who were selected as finalists for the expedition.  

John Doyle Recommends Alden Snell

Download recommendation letter.

H.A. Wiley Recommendation

Download recommendation letter.

Paul Siple 1968 Obituary

This document is a 1968 obituary of Paul Siple, the Boy Scout selected to join Byrd's mission in 1928. What can we learn from this obituary about the impact that joining the Byrd mission had on Siple? How did the Byrd mission impact his later endeavors in life? 

Paul Siple Recommendation Letter

This is a letter written by a city councilman from Paul Siple's hometown in Erie, PA that recommends him for Byrd's Antarctic expedition. Considering that Siple was chosen, how do you think this letter differs from those that recommended rejected applicants?

1975 Letter About Paul Siple

This document is a 1975 letter written by a childhood friend of Paul Siple's in which he describes Siple's early activities in the Boy Scouts. What does this letter teach us about the expedition and its importance?

Hometown Paper on Local Boy Scout Selected for Antarctic Expedition

This document is a clip from Paul Siple's hometown newspaper, The Erie Dispatch-Herald, that details Siple's selection for Byrd's mission. What is the response of the local community and what can this teach us about the importance of Byrd's mission to everyday American citizens?

Boy Scout Paul Siple Selected for Byrd Expedition

This is a picture of Paul Siple, who was the Boy Scout selected to join Byrd's mission.