On My Honour - Historical / Author Pursuit

Faith J. Cormier: Some time ago there was a discussion on the list about the song On My Honour and I said I would try to find out the correct copyright information. I recently received the following explanation from Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada, who printed the song in the book "Campfire Activities" stating that the words were anonymous.

It is rather long, but it is quite clear. Anyone who has any further information is welcome to contact me, or GGC directly.

If we had a penny for every time we were asked about the author of ON MY HONOUR, we'd be rich!

This has been an ongoing saga for us here at National. As far as we can tell, the original song was written by Cindy Dasch. She used to live in Michigan, but someone in Ontario "found" her in Minnesota in 1990 (we tried to trace her through the national office of GSUSA in 1990 with no luck), and I have a copy of a 1991 letter from Cindy to an Ontario Guider (the copy received here in 1993); however, when I sent a request letter to Cindy at that address, it was returned. I tried to track her down through the long distance telephone operator, but no one by that name resided in that town, or environs, of Minnesota at that time. The trail ended there for me.

We chose to say "Words: Anonymous" when we included ON MY HONOUR in "Campfire Activities"; because we had no idea if we were in fact printing Cindy Dasch's words and music or someone else's. In her letter's post script Cindy says "A Guide Unit from Manitoba once taught me two new verses!" She also mentioned the music, saying she has heard "many renditions" of it over the years. The music we used was Dorle Weiland's transcriptions. Dorle wrote it down a number of years ago and says she learned the song many years before that.

Cindy's letter says that she wrote the song at an international camp in Illinois, and people have been singing it since 1971. She also infers that the music wasn't printed until fairly recently, relative to the date of the letter (1991), but she acknowledges that it is sung all over the world; it traveled quickly by word of mouth. She also says there are a number of versions of it out there, which was confirmed by the Ontario Guider who wasn't pleased that we were printing "yet another version" of the song.

So, as far as we know, Cindy Dash wrote the original version of ON MY HONOUR, but we have no way of knowing what exactly that original version was. If your net-surfing Guider finds anything out, please, pass it along to us here at National!


Carol A. Batchelor
Publishing Administrator
Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada

Rachel Betchick: Just to add to the "On My Honor" thread. I have a songbook from our council, Western Massachusetts Girl Scout Council, called "Arts in the Berkshires". It was published in 1981 for a council event and National Wider Op. It contains the words to "On My Honor", lists the author as Cindy Dasch, and says "By permission of Cindy Dasch". I've always assumed that these are indeed the right words. I didn't realize what a rare thing we have here -- an authorized version. I'd still like to see the music written down. I have a hand-written version that someone gave me; now I understand why there is no "official" version.