Scout Camp Diaries







My name is Susan McLean, and I recently discovered (while typing out the entries in my Mom’s 1928 Diary) that the Girl Scout Camp adventures she had often mentioned enjoying as a teen had most likely taken place at Camp Andree Clark. Since the only diary entry mentioning the name of the camp was difficult to decipher- (I’d thought at first reading that the name was ‘Camp Andsee’)-  and since I could not find a camp by that name in the Boston area (where I’d mistakenly imagined it to be), I had to do a bit of on-line ‘sleuthing’. Eventually the diary entries citing place names such as ‘Ossining’ and ‘Macy’ (and Grand Central Station!) led me to widen my search for the camp’s location, and as soon as I came across the name “Camp Andree Clark” , and checked to make sure the camp had been in existence in 1928, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.


In the course of my on-line search, I encountered Michael Bowman, who was helpful in steering me toward discovery of the correct camp location. Mr. Bowman was also kind enough to indicate an interest in reading, then posting on-line the diary entries pertaining to life at Camp Andree as seen through the eyes of a 1928 camper!


My mother, Ruth Alden Clark, and her best friend Jeanne Claire Bowman knew each other growing up in Michigan’s Upper Penninsula, in the town of Marquette. Jeanne was an only child and my mother had no sisters (3 younger brothers), so the two girls were accustomed to spending much of their social and free time together. Jeanne’s father was James Cloyd Bowman, an author of several books for youth (including one called Mystery Mountain which he dedicated to my Mom and his daughter). Mr. Bowman was a professor teaching at the Normal Teacher’s College (which later became Northern Michigan University) when the two girls first met and became fast friends.


When the Bowman family moved away from Marquette, MI to Boston for a sabbatical year, Ruth and Jeanne corresponded frequently, and their families arranged for the girls to be reunited and to attend 6 weeks or so of Girl Scout camp together during the summer of 1928.  At the age of 15, Ruth traveled (apparently solo) by train from Marquette to meet the Bowman’s in the Boston area.  From there the two girls {and their considerable luggage!} traveled by train to Grand Central Station in New York City, and then on to Camp Andree Clark.


At the end of their stay at Camp Andree the girls joined the Bowman parents for a visit on a farm in Maine, and then the two girls traveled on together by train via Montreal, Quebec and Sault Sainte Marie (“The Soo”) on their way back to Marquette.  Jeanne’s parents returned to Marquette shortly after the girls arrived there and the girl’s spent some time at each other’s family ‘camps’ in the Marquette area before school resumed. By the time they attended the first football game of the fall season, life as the girls had known it before their grand adventures of the summer of ‘28 had returned to more normal patterns.


I’m so glad to think that Ruth and her friend Jeanne were able to enjoy these Girl Scout camping experiences together- and that they had such fine travel adventures to look back upon fondly in the years to come. Their close and sisterly friendship endured until Jeanne’s premature death about 10 years after the girls had shared their summer adventure at Camp Andree.


 Continue to July Diary

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