Elbert K. Fretwell

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Elbert K. Fretwell
Born 1878
Died 1962
Employer Boy Scouts of America
Title Chief Scout Executive
Term 1943–1948
Predecessor James E. West
Successor Arthur A. Schuck
Children Elbert K. Fretwell Jr.

Professor Elbert K. Fretwell, PhD, (1878-1962) was an American academic and early leader in the field of youth development through recreation and extracurricular activity. He served as the second Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), serving from 1943 to 1948. Upon his retirement from the BSA, Fretwell was given the title of Chief Scout.[citation needed]

His son Elbert K. Fretwell Jr. was also a noted professor of education and served as Chancellor of University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


Dr. Fretwell was an associate professor of Scouting and recreational leadership and later, professor of education at the Teachers College, Columbia University.

In 1918 Dr. Fretwell was appointed by the Surgeon General of the United States together with the American Red Cross to supervise recreation work in United States Army "reconstruction hospitals."

Boy Scouts of America

Professor Fretwell was a volunteer for many years in the Boy Scouts of America. He was recognized for his services with the Silver Buffalo Award in 1939. He also received the Silver Tamaraw of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.[1]

Upon the retirement of Dr. James E. West in 1943, Dr. Fretwell was appointed Chief Scout Executive and served until his retirement in 1948.

Partial list of works

  • Extracurricular Activities in Secondary Schools, EK Fretwell - 1931 - Houghton Mifflin Company
  • The School Assembly, EK Fretwell - Sixth Yearbook, National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1922
  • Survey of the Public Schools of Philadelphia. Vol. IV, EK Fretwell - The Public Education and Child Labor Association
  • Extra-Curricular Activities of the Boys' High Schools, EK Fretwell - Baltimore Survey, 1920[2]

See also


  1. June 13, 1947 - Article - Print Headline: "GETS PHILIPPINE AWARD; Dr. E.K. Fretwell Honored for Boy Scout Rehabilitation Work" http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30B13F63E58147B93C1A8178DD85F438485F9
  2. Beale, John Robert. "Elbert K. Fretwell and the Extra-Curricular Activity Movement 1917-31, New York." Ph. D. dissertation, Kent State University, 1983.
Boy Scouts of America
Preceded by
James E. West
Chief Scout Executive
Succeeded by
Arthur A. Schuck