At the turn of the last century, educator Elizabeth Ford Holt traveled north from Boston to New Hampshire with a dream to establish a summer camp for boys, a place where boys could spend the summer learning and growing. In 1903 she purchased the Barnard Farm on the shores of Newfound Lake and founded Mowglis for Boys.
With the permission of author Rudyard Kipling, she was able to borrow names from his Jungle Books, and to this day many of the buildings at Mowglis carry such names as Toomai, Baloo, and Akela. Throughout his life, Mr. Kipling maintained an active interest in this undertaking so strongly influenced by his inspiring and exciting stories.
Mr. Kipling also instructed Mrs. Holt on how to pronounce Mowglis (“Mow” sounds like cow, and “glee”), and how to pluralize the name of Mowgli the boy character in the books, by adding a silent “s”.
The Kipling Letters
In the spring of 1925 Mrs. Holt passed the camp to her long-time Assistant, Col. Alcott Farrar Elwell, who ran Mowglis for 27 years. After his retirement, Mr. Darwin P. Kingsley, and Mr. John C. Adams each ran the camp for five years apiece. In 1962 the the Holt-Elwell Memorial Foundation was established to acquire the camp and insure the continuity of the program as a non-profit institution. To this day the Holt-Elwell Memorial Foundation carries on the traditions that were established in the early 1900s by the founder, Mrs. Holt.