In addition to commissioned work, Janice A. Petterchak has written the first authoritative biography of William Dickson "W. D." Boyce (1858-1929), a Chicago publisher of nationally distributed weekly newspapers. In 1910 he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America, then helped combine his new entity with youth programs already established by the YMCA and other organizations. Boyce developed the Boy Scouts of America with assistance from Lord Baden-Powell, who originated the Scouting program in Great Britain.
In 1915 Boyce founded the little-remembered but, at the time, highly popular Lone Scouts of America. Through Lone Scout magazine published at his Chicago building, young boys (and a few girls) learned outdoor activities, wrote articles for the magazine, and performed patriotic activities during World War I. When Boyce relinquished the organization to the Boy Scouts nine years later, nearly 500,000 youngsters had participated in Lone Scouting.
With his publishing successes came the wealth that supported world travels (African safaris, on the Lusitania in 1915 to report on the European war, at the excavation of King Tut's tomb in 1923). Boyce wrote of his travel experiences in several books published by Rand McNally & Company.
A successful entrepreneur of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he became an acknowledged business and civic leader. His buildings in downtown Chicago were designed by renowned architects Henry Ives Cobb and Daniel H. Burnham. But, perhaps because his death occurred on the brink of the Great Depression--a time of vast economic and political changes, W. D. Boyce has been virtually forgotten in American history.