Philately of the Fourth World Boy Scout Jamboree
by Sheldon S. Levy


Gödöllő, the Jamboree site, situated some eleven miles from Budapest, was actually a beautiful park with a palace located within its confines.  It had been, in fact, the vast grounds of an ancient royal forest, and the palace had been a royal hunting lodge.  Gödöllő was chosen as a perfect spot for the Fourth World Jamboree because of its accessible central location, its natural, primeval beauty and its numerous handy facilities.  It was an ideal location for an equally royal encampment of world youth.  At least, 21,000 Scouts from 32 countries and from 16 colonies of the British Empire attended the affair, which, depending on which Jamboree seal, cachet or author's account is accepted, began on either August 1st, 2nd or 4th and terminated on August 15th or 16th, 1933 (although special Jamboree cancellations from the encampment site are known to have been used as early as July 28th and as late as August 25th).

Count Paul Teleki, who was chief Scout of Hungary at the time and later became Prime Minister of the country, provided a royal welcome and generous hospitality for the Scout visitors, including Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder and chief Scout of the World.

The Jamboree insignia, which appears in various forms and in a variety of combinations on stamps, labels, cancellations and cachets, commemorating the event, was the legendary Leaping White Stag of Hungary.  According to one account in the London Times, the stag symbol gained prominence when St. Catherine, who later became Abbess of Wadstena, was accosted on her way to a pilgrimage in Rome by a group of young nobles, who were bound for a hunt.  Just as the spirited gallants were about to molest the sainted pilgrim, a fine white stag appeared, reminding the young men of their original purpose, and led them off to the chase.  St. Catherine thereupon proceeded on her journey unharmed.

However, another traditional legend, presumably concerning the same stag, was adopted by Lord Baden-Powell in his farewell address to the Scouts assembled at the Jamboree.  This version has it that two brothers, Hunor and Magor, while on a hunting trip, sighted a white stag, chased it for days, and were finally lured thereby to the friendly, fertile and peaceful land known today as Hungary.  In his speech, and referring to the emblem of the Jamboree, Baden-Powell said:

#482 16f "....The Hungarian hunters of old pursued this miraculous stag, not because they expected to kill it, but because it led them on in the joy of the chase to new trails and fresh adventures, and so to capture happiness.  You may look at that white stag as the pure spirit of Scouting, springing forward and upward, ever leading you onward and upward, to leap over difficulties, to face new adventures in your active pursuit of the higher aims of Scouting -- aims which bring you happiness....".

Naturally, then, no matter which story actually provided the connection between the White Stag and the Hungarian history and formed the basis for its ultimate adoption as the Jamboree symbol, it would not be expected that Baden-Powell would relate to the tender young ears in attendance the world event any bit the latter one.  Instead, he correctly analogized the spirit, vitality and activity of the animal to the aims of Scouting -- and let it go at that.

One other philatelically and historically important Jamboree insignia deserves mention, since it appears on both the set of stamps issued for the occasion and in the special postmark employed at the postal installations thereat.  It is the famous St. Stephen's Crown, the top cross piece of which is often seen in a badly bent condition.  St. Stephen was the first King of Hungary and the actual crown was used at his coronation in the year 100 A.D.  The damage to the cross part occurred during the 15th Century when the Crown was stolen and before it was recovered.

On the commemorative stamps, the Crown appears atop the three hills as a background for the Leaping White Stag.  On the Jamboree cancellation, the crown with bent cross is shown just above the date and below the semi-circular word "Gödöllő".  The Crown has an additional specific connotation for Hungarian Scouts, since their Scout Badge is gilt arrowhead surmounted by a replica of the St. Stephen's Crown.

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