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Happy Birthday, Juliette Gordon Low!

Girl Scout Books Girl Scout Equipment

Top: Assortment of Girl Scout books.

Bottom: Girl Scouts, Inc., New York, NY.  Girl Scout Equipment, Fall 1941 Leader's Edition.

October 31 isn't just Halloween.  It's also the birthday of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts of the USA.  She was born one hundred and fifty years ago today in 1860.

Before founding Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette Gordon Low was actively involved with Girl Guides in the UK.  She spent several months during the year in Scotland and London.  On one of these trips, she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts. Soon after meeting him, she began working with a company of Girl Guides in Scotland and then Guide companies in London. It wasn't long before she brought the idea of Girl Guides to the United States.  In 1912, on a return trip to the United States, she organized America's first Girl Guides troop in Savannah, Georgia. The next year, the name for the US organization was changed to Girl Scouts.

The National Museum of American History Library has in its holdings several publications about Girl Scouts.

One of these is a book entitled Juliette Low and the Girl Scouts; the Story of an American Woman, 1860-1927. Published in 1928, the year after her death, the book traces her life, including how she became involved with Girl Guiding and later founded Girl Scouts of the USA. It begins with her own recollections of childhood and goes on to include stories by family and friends, many of which are from her Guiding and Scouting days.

Another item, Girl Scout Equipment, is a Girl Scouts, Inc. catalog located in the Trade Literature Collection.  This Fall 1941 Leader's Edition catalog shows a variety of supplies—Girl Scout pins and proficiency badges, the Girl Scout Handbook (priced at 50 cents), books to assist leaders, camping equipment, arts and crafts supplies, Official Dolls, and much more. Of course a Girl Scout catalog wouldn't be complete without uniforms. The 1941 Brownie uniform was a brown shirt-waist style dress. It cost $2.25. The Senior Girl Scout Dress, a forest green dress with flared skirt and detachable collar, was priced at $4.95.  And the Leader's Cotton Uniform, a silver-green cotton dress with flared skirt, cost $5.50.

More Girl Scout related books are located in the collections at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.  Pictured here are some of the items at the National Museum of American History Library:

Juliette Low and the Girl Scouts; the Story of an American Woman, 1860-1927, edited by Anne Hyde Choate and Helen Ferris, 1928.

Girl Scout Handbook for the Intermediate Program, 1940.

Girl Scout Song Book, 1929.

Senior Girl Scout Handbook, 1963.

Girl Scouts, Inc., New York, NY.  Girl Scout Equipment, Fall 1941 Leader's Edition.  Located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library.

Happy Birthday, Juliette Gordon Low!

—Alexia MacClain, photos by Lu Rossignol

To learn more about the postage stamp honoring Juliette Gordon Low, take a look here.

One Comment

  1. Would the Smithsonian be interested in having my life-sized sculpture of Juliette Low for display?

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