Flashback Friday: The Knighthood of Youth Club Taught Nebraska Children to Avoid the “Grouchy Swamp”

Prior to the Boy Scouts, there were several youth organizations based on King Arthur and the Arthurian legend. One such organization was the Knighthood of Youth. Directed by the National Child Welfare Association, the Knighthood of Youth was intended for school children, 7-12 years of age. Each local chapter or club was known as a “Circle” or “Castle” of the Knighthood of Youth. The goal of the Knighthood of Youth (or “K of Y”) was to provide activities for children that would promote honesty, cleanliness (and other good habits), and good citizenship. This Knighthood of Youth Club Guide book comes from the NSHS Library collections.

Knighthood of Youth Club Guide cover (NSHS Library collection)

 

This 1933 guide book was published by the Nebraska State Department of Public Instruction based on several bulletins put together by the National Child Welfare Association. The guide book shows how the knights’ costumes could be made using paper, cardboard, and cloth.

Costume instructions (K of Y Club Guide, pg. 86)

 

Knighthood of Youth group (K of Y Club Guide, pg. 10)

 

This activity map shows the children in the group that the knight’s quest is a difficult one, but if they are honest, obedient, courteous, etc., that they too can reach the “Castle of Knighthood.” But, they must beware of accidentally falling into the “Marsh of Disgrace,” the “Grouchy Swamp” or the “Bog of Bad Manners.”

The Quest of the Goodly Knights (K of Y Club Guide, pgs. 54-55)

 

Towards the end of the Club Guide, there are published letters from various participants in the Knighthood of Youth. One letter I thought was interesting was one from Lutannies Hogerson of rural Funk, Nebraska.

Lutannies Hogerson (K of Y Club Guide, pg. 93)

 

He starts his letter: “My name is Lutannies Hogerson. I live on a farm near Funk, Nebraska. I am thirteen years old and in the eighth grade in school. My parents and teachers always encourage me in good work and that means a lot.” “When the Knighthood of Youth club was organized in our school about two years ago, our teacher, Miss Bernice Esping, announced that recognition would be given in our castle for worthwhile spare time work.” Hogerson goes on to discuss his spare time project…the building of a scale model of the battleship “Texas.” He ends his letter with: “In conclusion I wish to say that Knighthood of Youth club work has certainly helped me a great deal, and I advise every boy and girl to join the ranks in being good Knights.” Each year the Nebraska Knighthood of Youth would hold an annual banquet and one student from each circle or castle was chosen to attend with their teacher and parents. This annual banquet was hosted by Gold & Company in Lincoln. Photographs of some of these banquets can be found in the Gold & Company photo collection (RG2018.PH). Unfortunately, this book and the Gold & Company photos are really the only items in our collections relating to the Knighthood of Youth in Nebraska. If you have any memorabilia relating to the K of Y in Nebraska, we would love to hear from you! Or, if you have a story about the Knighthood of Youth, please share it with us.

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