Dr. Goodman at the 1954 NOAC

Edward Urner Goodman (May 15, 1891 – March 13, 1980), more familiarly E. Urner Goodman, was an influential leader in the Boy Scputs of America movement for much of the twentieth century. He was the national program director from 1931 until 1951, during the organization's formative years of significant growth, and wrote the Leaders Handbook. He is best known today for having created the Order of the Arrow, a popular and highly successful program of the Boy Scouts of America which honors Scouts for their cheerful service.

Goodman took an early interest in education and youth work while barely out of his teens himself. A native of Philadelph, Pennsylvania, he initially was a popular and highly respected Sunday school teacher and leader at a local Presbyterian Church. While studying for his degree in Education, he first became involved in Boy Scouting in 1911 as a twenty year old Scoutmaster of Troop 1, the first Scout Troop in Philadelphia. In 1913, he began teaching at the Potter School there.

In 1915, he entered full-time professional service in Boy Scouting as a field executive, serving that summer as director of the Philadelphia Scout Council's summer camp, where he began the Order of the Arrow as a motivational program to recognize exemplary campers.

Following Army service as a first lieutenant during World War I, Goodman resumed his professional Scouting career as Scout executive in Philadelphia from 1919 to 1927 and in Chicago from 1927 to 1931. He was then named national program director, serving from 1931 until his retirement in 1951. He remained active in Order of the Arrow affairs as a source of inspiration for its thousands of members until his death at the age of 88.

Goodman was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humanics from Missouri Valley College, the first such degree awarded by the college. He was a Freemason, having joined Lamberton Masonic Lodge 487 of Philadelphia in 1917, and also was a member of Kiwanis and Rotary. He authored a book in 1965, "The Building of a Life", recounting some of his Scouting experiences.

He was married to the former Louise Waygood for sixty years and they had three children. In the 1970s, they moved to the Penney Retirement Community at Penney Farms, Florida, where E. Urner Goodman is buried.



May 18, 1891 - March 13, 1980



Carroll A. Edson, OA co-founder

First patch with the likeness of Dr Goodman on it. Designed by Jim Bowles, Contingent Leader


The Founders Finder

Designed by Jim Bowles, Contingent Leader


August 22, 1975
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Dr. E. Urner Goodman
1975 NOAC Closing Challenge

 (Brad Haddock:)[1] 

It has been said that the problem with many youth today is the fact that they have no one to look up to; no heroes, and no one by which they might pattern their lives.  For those of us here today, I’m glad that this is not the case .  .  . for this is the truth, for with us today is the founder of our Order: Dr. E. Urner Goodman.

 (Applause, cheers) 

(Dr. Goodman:)

I have a request to make, I would like the house lights turned on so that I can see you.  It’s not too important for you to see me, but I want to see each of you.  Can the general house lights be turned on and this heavy stuff on me turned low?  Can that be done now? 

That’s coming .  .  . a little more on the audience.  I want to look you in the eye if I, if I may. 

I find it hard, my brothers, to get words to express enough how I feel about this conference.  There have been one thrill after another.  Oh, there was some little incidents that I wondered about, but on the whole I think it has been a great achievement and my thanks go to all those who had a part in that.  I have here a list of those people; I won’t take time to read them.  But you know in your hearts what you’ve done to make this perhaps the greatest conference on record for the Order of the Arrow.  It’s been a great, a great thing.   

Well, it’s our 60th anniversary.  And when anybody has been around for 60 years, one has to do a little thinking, again.

Are there any people here who were in the Order for that first year?  If so will you stand up and yell?

 (Audience reaction)

 No that isn’t the one.


 So far as I know.  .  .  .  So far as I know, we have none of the very original members.  In fact the man who stood by me, Colonel Edson, could not be here, as you know, because of illness to his wife.  But I shall report to him what happened.

 So I, I looked at myself at this stage of the game.  I see what’s hanging from the rear here, on my head .  .  . and.  .  .  .


 Never mind, never mind the applause.  Because really I owe that to my wife.  And, I tell you my thoughts go back.  And I’m beginning to feel the stress of the years and so there won’t be many more opportunities to talk to you and maybe to attend a conference like this. 

 On the other hand, I feel a little bit like Uncle Dan Beard.  How many of you knew Dan Beard in the early days?

 I see one hand, two hands, three hands going up. 

 The first National Commissioner of the Boy Scouts in America.  An old friend of mine.  And, when he reached his 90th birthday, I have not quite reached that one yet, when he reached his 90th birthday he sent me a poem that he wrote for the occasion.[2]  This poem figured him looking at himself in a mirror in his home, and he wrote these solemn words as he looked at himself: 

Who is he?  I say.
Who is that man, so old and wan?
Whose cheeks are those so sunk and drawn?
Whose hair is that so white and thin?
Whose frosty beard .  .  .”

He didn’t have a beard but he, he imagined anyhow.  .  .[3]

“.  .  . so dour and grim? [4]
I know him not; I know now (sic) him.[5]
Who is he?[6] 
Who is that guy?
Not I!  not I!  no, no not I!
I am not old, I am not wan;
My cheeks are ruddy, my body brawn’;
My posture’s upright, my features fair;
My head is crowned with nut-brown hair;
My steps are springy when I walk;
My lips are smiling when I talk;
My eyes are bright
As a summer sky.
Old glass, you lie, you lie, YOU LIE!

 And that was Dan Beard.

 And I feel a little bit like that.


 I was glad to have my first scout here with me at this conference.[7]  A very active member of our lodge out on the pacific coast in the region of San Francisco.  I spent, Mrs. Goodman and I spent a week at his home incident to the great gathering held in that part of the country a few months ago.  And as I was leaving him from that visit, I, I said:

             “Gilson, how old you going to be your next birthday?[8]

 He looked me in the eye, he was my first Scout, who got me into Scouting, really.  He said:

             “Next birthday, I’ll be 80 years old.”

 And that took me back a little bit. 

 But I want to tell you the secret is that when I became his Scoutmaster I was only four years older than he was.  And now you know the truth about my age.

 Well there have been over a million members of our Order.  We don’t have the actual count.  Over a million members of the Order.  Men who became happily, and I’m sure lastingly, members of this organization. 

 I sent out a little feeler through the kindness of our national office and national secretary.  I sent out a little feeler to see whom each lodge would pick out as their particular representative in the Scout .  .  . in the, in the members of our Order of yesterday.

 And so far I have heard from 63 lodges.  And by and large they are very interesting people. 

 I looked carefully over the statements made about the people of yesterday in the Order, and here is what I found:

 Number one.  By and large the emphasis which was given to the selection of the individual which each lodge offered was, not so much that he may be a great man like governors and congressmen or mayors or such; no emphasis on newspaper celebrities; but as was expected in the first place, practically all of them, Arrowmen of outstanding value to the Scout movement in America.

 About a third of them have given their late lives to the field of education.  One is a college dean and another a Ph.D. in chemistry and so on along the line.

 Another third now hold civic office of value to their country and their community. 

 Fully an eighth of them are leaders in church life in America, both clergy and laymen.

 Four of them are devoting their lives to the welfare of retarded children in their part of the world.

 Five are outstanding leaders in the field of business, now there was no information about how rich they had become, but they were at least outstanding businessmen in America.

 Two were expert in the field of high adventure.  And you can guess who they .  .  . what kind of people they were.  They were both astronauts.  Jim Lovell, for instance, and the first man on the moon.  Both of them astrona .  .  . both of them, not only astronauts, but Arrowmen.

 And one, hear this: One had very nearly given his life, at least the risk of his life, for serving his country and for seven years was a prisoner of war during the Second World War.

 Well, that’s something of yesterday.  But I am so happy that this conference started out on the basis of searching for and building foundations for tomorrow. 

 And I, I want to add my personal message to at least four of the great values that I see coming out of this conference for the welfare of tomorrow.  Both the welfare of our Order and the welfare of the country we serve.

 I have my eye on four things.

 Number one is what we might well call the motherland of our Order; the camp.

 As some of you know, or have heard, I was at Treasure Island in July of this year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Lodge number One, on that old camping ground.  I am sad to report that that old camping ground is no more used as a camping ground.  It would not be profitable under the present financial conditions in that part of the country to use Treasure Island as a camping ground.  And that is not peculiar to the city of brotherly love, called Philadelphia. 

 There are great cities in crowed territories in our country where what could be said of camping and the camping program in the Boy Scouts of America, can no longer be said as it was a few years ago.  Four years ago they were still camping on Treasure Island and there were plenty of campers to go to summer camp.  But you see, when we started the camp on Treasure Island in 1915, the charge was five dollars a week to each camper, each Scout camper.

 Today it would have to be forty-five dollars, not five dollars a week.  And that makes some difference.  Especially where the background of those who come to camp may be predominately in the crowded sections of our country called the great cities and where it is more difficult to find the money to carry on.  

 I call for this, therefore, my brothers.  Believing that camping is a highly essential part of the Scout program in this country or any country, that there will be built a more solid foundation for the continuance and the further strengthening of the camping program in the Boy Scouts of America. 

 That I count a great field for activity in the few years now immediately before us.  And I presume that we’re going to help, we of the Order, are going to help to build a firmer foundation there.  So that that precious quality in a young man’s experience which he gets through camping, building on his own shoulders ability for self-reliance in whatever field of life he enters as the years go by, is precious and must be continued.

 Therefore, I call upon you to do all you can in building that foundation that will strengthen the Order in its camping and strengthen the Scout movement in its camping in days ahead.

 That’s number one.

 The next program has to do, if I can just find my notes quickly here as I expected to do.  .  .  .

 The next program carries on into the field of .  .  . the 200th anniversary of our country.  Now I need say very little about that on the dramatic portrayal that took place on this very platform a day or two ago.[9]  That was beautifully done.

 I want to tell you that in the family I come from the 200th anniversary of our country is a very significant thing.  You see my great-great-grandfather had a carpenter’s shop in the heart of Philadelphia in which he trained his company to go to war in the revolutionary effort of 1776.

 And so we take the 200th anniversary rather strenuously in our family.  And to match that my dear wife comes from a family who originally lived in that central farmhouse at Washington’s Crossing, where Washington crossed the Delaware. 

 Now I don’t mean to say Mrs. Goodman was there when Washington crossed the Delaware.


 I want to make that straight.

 But as her grandparents had been occupying that house before, so that when they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the crossing of the Delaware in .  .  . 100 years ago, her antecedents were there to help, and serve coffee to the men that again crossed the Delaware to celebrate that anniversary.

 I could tell you a lot of things more, but I know that we are going to do our part in making that 200th anniversary in the year immediately ahead something quite worthwhile.

 Now let me go on to my other recommendations for careful attention as the year 1976 grows on before us.

 And I’m again looking for the proper paper here on my desk that would give me my notes to follow at this time.

 I am tremendously pleased with what has happened during this week in the field of our attention to Indian lore and tradition in the promotion of the right attitude toward our red brothers in this continent.

 I am so pleased with the action that just took with regard of awarding the Red Arrow to the man that has led the way in our relationship there.

 I have this one suggestion to offer to us as we go forward, lodge by lodge, in strengthening our relationship with the American Indian and his lore and tradition.  It is that we deepen our interest.

 We do now a marvelous job in terms of costume for the Indian dance and in the perfecting of the nature of the dance. 

 I ask that we, each lodge, make a deeper study into the needs, the welfare, the history of the particular tribe resident in their corner of our country.  That, I think, is quite in order in this day and age.  We have a great debt to pay yet to the Indian life in this continent which was treated so shabbily generations ago.  Let’s make that count! 

 And if I may suggest a recent book published by the Geographic Association in this county.  May I suggest that you get .  .  . and I was recently presented with a copy of that tremendous study of Indian life in this continent.  And I ask that you inform yourselves in your local lodge and make your celebration and your adoption of interest in Indian lore and its history on deep foundations.

 That will be highly worthwhile.

 Now I have one other area which I would like to see us give primary attention.

 When we started the Order of the Arrow, we stressed the fact that the Order was directed particularly at the individual Arrowman himself.

 What do I mean by that?

 Well one time at one of these conferences, probably twenty years ago, when I made this part of the .  .  . my part in the program of that conference as we closed the conference, to pick out a single Arrowman sitting down in the audience there.  I asked him to rise and what I said to everybody else, I directed particularly at him.[10]

 Because, the Order from the very start, felt that they were dealing not with a mass of youth in America, but with individual persons.

 Happily in the last few years there has arisen in our midst an emphasis upon that very thing. 

 There are those among us[11] who feel that we are .  .  . to make every effort in the induction of a new member into our Order in the Ordeal Ceremony, so that that very experience in his life is one that he will never forget.  I think we are beginning to make headway in that.  But let us in the months immediately ahead emphasize the fact that the Order of the Arrow is a collection of individual Arrowmen, in-the-making, or old-timers; and that what we do must be of such quality as to grasp their imagination and make their life different because of that fact.

 And so I was so happy to learn that there are now prepared as a result of this conference a group of about 160 of our number here who are prepared to go into the various sections of our country and help in the lifting of the standard of the Ordeal Ceremony.[12]  So that as a new member comes into our Order he goes through an experience that he will never forget.  It will abide with him and make the Order ever after that a meaningful thing in his life.

 Now I could talk a lot more about that, but I am pressed by time and I am about to say good-bye to you, because I .  .  . hesitate in saying good-bye.  It’s been such a great thing to be together with you all.

 How I wish I could have been closer to each one of you.

 Could have shaken your hand with pressure.  Could have signed your sash, if I didn’t.  And so on and so forth.

 Let me then as I close my few little remarks here go back to a favorite song through the early years of our Order. 

 I love music.  I was so glad that the brotherhood band and the great chorus were as good as ever in our program this year.  And so I bring my closing remarks to you in the form of a song that most of you know.

 I’m not going to sing it for you because that might drive you out.


 But I’m, I’m going to use the words of the three verses on which I hang my final adieu to you.

 This is the message of the Happy Wanderer.

 And you remember the first verse.  It’s the message of the knapsack.  And it goes like this:  

“I love to go a-wandering,
along the mountain track
And as I go I love to sing,
my knapsack on my back.  .  .  .”

 I had a very dear friend in the earlier years of my Scouting career.  He was the head of the Boy Scout movement in the neighboring country of Canada, John Stiles.  A wonderful man.  Frequently he would come to our groups in this country and speak to us. 

 He often stressed the fact that the knapsack had a great part to play in the life of the good Scout. 


 Because what we put in our knapsack for life is extremely important.  If you put into your knapsack not only the things for good camping, but in that knapsack put the ingredients of a useful and worthwhile life, then you’ll have something.

 That’s the kind of knapsack I would have for each of you, into which now, in these formative years when you’re finishing your college work, drawing into your line of specialty whether it be in the field of education or any other field; so that your life hereafter may be one of importance, not only to you and your family, but to your community and the country you serve.

 The song of the knapsack.

 Verse number two is the message of the green-wood tree.  You remember?  

“I wave my hat to all I meet,
and they wave back to me
And black birds call so loud and sweet
from every green-wood tree.”

 Way back then, I told the story of what happened to a great tree on the pacific coast of our country where they were paying particular attention to the study of the trees in a certain section. [13]  And they came to a tree 2,000 years old.  They counted, scientifically, the ring for each year on that tree.  And in examining scientifically each ring of the great old pine tree, they read the history of the country in that section of the USA.  All they had to do was find what happened at different stages of the growth of that tree, and they began to have the history of that section of our country.

 The trees of our country are symbolic of the .  .  . of Mother Nature which we of the Order, as good campers, as good Scouts, love.

 So happy we are that we can be agents of preserving nature in her best in the life that lies before us.  And we’ve been at that for some time and we’re going to keep at it, I know.  In building for the future.

 And that final verse.  I always loved it:  

“Oh may I go a-wandering,
until the day I die
And may I always laugh and sing,
beneath God’s .  .  . clear .  .  . blue .  .  . sky.  

God’s .  .  . clear . . . blue  . . . sky. 

 My what we have found in the last twenty years about that clear, blue sky of God’s.

 We know that there are hundreds of .  .  . solar systems in that clear, blue sky.  Hundreds of amazing discoveries in the whole field of distant astronomy. 

 Infinite indications that the God who made them all is himself infinite.

 And that infinity, dear brothers, extends not outward to the reaches of that clear blue sky, and there’s no boundary to that, but also inward, to the heart of each human being, if we’re used.

 So as we go forward in the building of the foundations for the future, let Him, the God of that clear blue sky, help you out and your life will be exceedingly fruitful.

 May God bless you all in the years that lie ahead. 

 My heart will be with you.



[1] National Chief 1975-1977.

[2]   In The Building of a Life, Dr. Goodman reports that the poem was inscribed by Dan Beard on his Christmas Card of that year, p.56-57.  Daniel Carter Beard’s birthday was reported in the New York Times as June 22nd, 1850; thus Dr. Goodman would have received the postcard in June, 1940.

[3]   Odd, as Dan Beard most frequently appears in photographs with a goatee.

[4]   Dr. Goodman apparently inadvertently omitted the two prior lines: “Whose wrinkled chin?  Whose face is that.  .  .  .”  ibid.

[5]   The line should read: “I know not him.”  ibid.

[6]   In The Building of a Life, the line reads: “But who is he?”  op. cit.

[7]   I recall Dr. Goodman introducing his first scout as the “Founder’s Finder” during another part of the conference.

[8]   Gilson Talmadge.

[9]   An apparent reference to the “Heritage of Service” show titled: The Shot Heard Round the World.

[10]  An apparent reference to “Chuck” from his 1954 NOAC closing speech.

[11]  Dr. Goodman is referring to the Ceremonial Advisory Group.

[12]  The graduates of the 1975 NOAC Induction Enrichment Program.

[13]   An apparent reference to his 1961 NOAC closing speech which likewise expanded on the theme of the Happy Wanderer.



This website is for collecting and displaying the history of Esselen Lodge 531.  This is a private website and is not part of Esselen Lodge or the Monterey Bay Area Council.