A wide variety of youth groups in the 20th century have adopted a great diversity of uniforms. Some of these organizations have achieved enormous renouwn for the positive, character building experiences they have provided boys. The first group, the Boys' Brigade, was founded at the end of the 19th century and had a central Christian focus. The most significant was the Scouts which was founded after the turn of the century. Comparable organizations were founded for girls. Many of these organizations were founded in Britain and the British penchant for uniforms have greatly influenced the adoption of uniforms for the boys. Uniforms came to be a key element for these groups. Many other organizations were founded , some with sinister histories like the Hitler Youth. This web site seeks to provide a historical background on these organizations and a look at the uniforms worn by the boys over time.


Figure 1.--These Czech Scouts at the 1929 World Jamboree are wearing uniforms very much like English Scouts as different national Scout associations were just beginning to develop distinctive uniforms.

Our web site is divided into many different sections. Please feel free to scan around. Please let you know what you think about the site and less us know if you have any suggestions or contributions. Since I began building this site, I can see that I will not be able to include all my Scout information on this site. I will therefore just put some introductory material on Scouting here and build a separate site just on Scouting. Please contact the Webmaster for details on assessing the Scout site.

Principal Topics

The principal pages in this web site are the pages on the various youth organizations them selves. There are several other topics in this main area of HBU with information on the unforms worn at various activities, biographies of important individuals associated with youth groups, uniform changes over time, national differences, and details concerning specific garments. There is introductory information describing the information avaialble at this site. Click here for a describtion of HBU and the type of information you will find at our site. Boys participating in uniformed groups have participated in a variety of activities from bands to summer camp to rocket launching. Uniforms were often designed for rough outdoor wear, but many boys also wore them to school and church. Boys in the uniforms of the groups discussed here have been used in advertising. HBC is unaware of many artists that have addressed youth groups. Many illustrators have provided wonderful drawings, especially of Scouting. Some individuals have played a major role in the development of boys' uniformed groupd. Background on their lives is useful in understanding the organizations they founded and the uniforms adopted by those organizations. A survey of the chronological development of uniforms and the interests of boys in the uniforms. This sections follows the development of boys' uniformed groups and the uniforms they wear from the mid-19th century. Most all countries at some point in their history have had Scout groups. At other times Scouts have been baned by Fascist and Communist governments which formed competing organizations. Other grroups have been formed in a smaller number of countries. HBU wants to analize the informnation we are compiling to determine the historical and social trends that are relected in youth groups and the uniforms worn by the members of these groups. We have at this time only one essay, but more are planned. A survey of the various garments employed by the different uniformed groups and an assessment of changes over time. The information here is organized by garment. Uniformed groups have over time worn a wide varity of garment as part of their uniforms. Most groups have shared uniforms of similar styles. The Scouts have been the single-most influential group in setting the styles of youth group uniforms. Details on the background and uniforms of the Scouts and other youth groups. Some of the organization, especially the Scouts, will be broken down by countries or branches like Sea Scouts. Most of the groups are familiar namesm, but there are large numbers of groups, both contemporary and current that may not be as familiar. Others like the Hitler Youth pertain only to one country. The information here is organized by organization.

Hitler Youth
Figure 2.--The NAZI Hitller Youth movement adopted many of the programs and uniform items from the Boy Scouts and Wandervogel. Notice the kerchiefs thd boys wore without butooning their shirts. Also notice the short sleeved shirt that appears to have long sleeves sewed on. All three boys wear belts with shoulder attachments. Their belts have the Hitler Youth single lighting bolt symbol called a 'sieg rune' or victory rune.

Information and Tools

HBU has several sections providing information on the sites or tools to research the subject of boys' uniformed groups. Here we are building a bilbliography of sources we have found useful or hope to access in oor continuing research. Here is a bibliography with information on boys' youth organizations. There is a wealth of material published on Scouting, but less material on other groups. In addition, much of the available scholarship is American or British. HBU had noted pertinent works on specific pages, but will collect the various sources here. We explain how to contrinute information to our site. If you have found HBU of interest, one reason is that outr readers have helped build this site. Please help us build this site into a useful resource for information about youth group uniforms. HBU has received quite a number of questions about our website. The answers to Frequently Asked Questions about our site are posted here. Feel free to ask any questions you might have. These are questions about the site itself and not the details of group uniforms which are provide under the "Question" section below. HBU is an English language site. As we are collecting information on youth groups around the world, we thought it might be useful to collect information on foreign language terms associated with youth gtoups. Some of these terms will vary among countries as languages like English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish are languages spoken in several different countries. Many youth groups have sponsored publications. We have very limited information on those publications. Here we hope to acquire more information. HBU has received a variety of inquiries from a wide variety of readers. The questions often highlight interesting observations are lead HBU to needed avenues of investigation. The information and images we have collected has proven useful to historians, school groupers, Scouters, costume designers, play costumers, and many others.

Girls' Uniforms

Following the creation of the Bpys' Brigade and Boy Scouts, several uniformed youth organizations were founded for girls. The first was the Girl Guides in England. Some organizations eventually mixed genders. The first here may have been the German Wandervogel. For the most part this did not become a popular approach until after World War II. There are now many mixed groups all over the world. We here at HBU have hoped that someone might create a site on girls' youth group uniforms and that we could coordinate our research efforts. We have found so much material that we can not even handle well the topics we have already addressed. We continued to be interested in finding a partner and would be pleased to assist someone that would be interested in creatung a site on historical girls' uniforms.

Information Needed

I hope you find our site of interest. Please do help us construct this site by contributing your insights and material.


Created: January 14, 1998
Last updated: 9:13 AM 1/15/2010