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ROBERT BADEN-POWELL (1857-1941)
Founder of the Boy Scouts
Robert Baden-Powell's name is recognized and respected throughout the world as that of a man who devoted himself to the service of his country and his fellow men in two separate and complete lives, one as a soldier, and the other as a worker for peace through his founding and leading of the Boy Scouts.
In his definitive biography of Baden-Powell, Tim Jeal writes: "The evidence available points inexorably to the conclusion that Baden-Powell was a repressed homosexual." Jeal documents his attraction to boys, describing how he enjoyed watching young scouts as they swam and viewing photographs of naked boys.
Jeal writes, "Baden-Powell was in a position of trust which made watching, at one remove, the only way to satisfy his interest. The other was to seek the company of men...who lived in close contact with young males."
Baden-Powell spent time with friends who were also attracted to boys. Jeal writes, "Through their shared memories of Charterhouse and their undoubted 'sentimentalism', which in both their cases found no physical fulfillment, they would have had a close understanding that required no word of explanation."
According to Jeal, although he did marry, his wife was a "strange compound of child and grown woman" who Baden-Powell asked to alter her appearance to look more like a boy. He was also mesmerized by James Barrie's play Peter Pan, which he saw twice during its first month.
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