Mortimer L. Schiff

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Mortimer Loeb Schiff (June 5, 1877 – June 4, 1931) , sometimes Mortimer Leo Schiff, was an American banker and notable early Boy Scouts of America (BSA) leader.[1] His son John Mortimer Schiff was also involved with the BSA.


File:Schiff 1931.jpg
Schiff memorialized on the cover of Scouting Magazine, July, 1931

Mortimer Leo Schiff was the only son of the German-Jewish American banker and philanthropist Jacob Schiff and his wife Therese.[2] While he worked as a partner in the financial firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. from 1900 until his death in 1931, he also devoted much of his time to the development of scouting in America. He was a member of the World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and the Theodore Roosevelt Council Executive Board. After a long tenure as vice-president of the BSA beginning in 1910 [3], during which he also appeared on the cover of Time magazine on February 14, 1927 [4], he was elected president of the organization in 1931. However, his untimely death came only one month later [5]. He had also been serving as the BSA's International Commissioner for several years.

The property for the Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation was subsequently purchased by his mother, named in his honor, and donated to the BSA for their national training center.

Schiff was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, granted by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting.

Both Mortimer and his son, John M. Schiff, received Silver Buffalo Awards from the BSA.

See also

Boy Scouts of America
Preceded by
Walter W. Head
National president
May–June 1931
Succeeded by
Walter W. Head


  1. "Schiff Gave Freely to Social Service" (PDF). The New York Times. 1931-06-05. 
  2. He listed himself as "Mortimer Leo Schiff" in the 1917 World War I draft registration. For a 1923 passport application he listed himself as "Mortimer Loeb Schiff".
  3. Chicago Jewish Historical Society (Winter 2000). "The Boy Scouts of America: Historic Chicago Jewish Troops". Chicago Jewish History 24 (1): 14. 
  4. "TIME cover archives". TIME magazine.,16641,1101270214,00.html. Retrieved February 6, 2006. 
  5. "Brief History of the BSA, 1927-1940". BSA History. Archived from the original on July 16, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2006.