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Jerusalemite Youth

Boy Scouts posing around a firepit in Jerusalem, ca. 1921–23


Frank Scholten, from the Frank Scholten Photographs Collection, Leiden University Libraries, the Netherlands

This photo, captured by Dutch photographer Frank Scholten in the early 1920s, features young Boy Scouts in Jerusalem and their adult leaders gathered around a firepit, equipped with camping utensils, including sticks, knives, and pots. It was taken almost a decade after scouting was first introduced to Jerusalem by the St. George Missionary School in 1912. The movement flourished under the Colonial British Mandate, and several scout troops were established in Christian and Muslim organizations and schools, including the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Rawdat al-Ma‘arif in Jerusalem. Throughout the British Mandate, the Palestinian scouting movement grew increasingly political, becoming a platform for interfaith nationalism and anticolonial activism.

Scholten was an avid amateur Dutch photographer and author who was born in 1881 and died in 1942. During the 1920s, in the early years of the British Mandate as Palestine was transitioning from Ottoman rule, Scholten spent three years in Palestine, traveling the region and photographing extensively both biblical sights and scenes and, more importantly, the local populace and customs. Between April 19, 1921, and May 19, 1923, Scholten visited Jerusalem 29 times for stays that varied from a day to three months.