World War I -- Life Histories/Section 019/Juliette Gordon Low

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Low in 1923.

Juliette Gordon Low[edit]

Juliette Gordon Low (October 31, 1860 — January 17, 1927) of Savannah, Georgia is famous for founding the Girl Scouts of America in 1912.

Juliette officiates a Girl Scout.

Biography[edit]

Juliette Gordon Low, nicknamed ‘Daisy’, was born on October 31, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia. She grew up with five other siblings and dabbled in poetry, art, and sports as a girl. Growing up, she suffered ear infections as a child that left her deaf in one ear. Daisy married William McKay Low on December 21, 1886. On her wedding day, a single grain of rice thrown at her for good luck became lodged in her ear, puncturing her eardrum and leaving her totally deaf at age 26Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many.

Low developed an attitude of service early in life, especially as it related to aiding troops in combat. During the Spanish-American War, she worked in a convalescent hospital with her mother. Daisy’s work allowed her to be distracted from her husband’s many infidelities. They separated in 1905, and he died later that yearCite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many.

Girl Scouts of the United States of America[edit]

Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of The Boy Scouts Association, inspired Daisy to create an equivalent adventure-oriented organization for young women. They became friends in 1911. In 1912, as a single woman, she incorporated the Girl Scouts of America, a group that encouraged young women to explore nature and serve their communities. The first troop was made up of eighteen girls from Savannah who wanted to develop their "self-reliance and resourcefulness".Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many The Girl Scouts' adventure-oriented projects and activities challenged conventions for women at the time.

During the Great War[edit]
Hoover's letter of thanks to Low and the Girl Scouts of America.

During the early years of the Girl Scouts, Low planned projects for the girls that allowed them to contribute supplies to American and allied troops on the Western Front. The Girl Scouts sold war bonds, volunteered in hospitals, and collected peach pits to make filters for gas masks. In 1918, Herbert Hoover, who was appointed the head of the U.S. Food Administration during the final years of the war, recognized Daisy and the Girl Scouts of America for their contributions of vegetable and fruit preserves to the War Effort.[1]

Juliette Gordon Low died from breast cancer on January 17, 1927.


Daisy’s Impact on Peers[edit]

Pauline Paget[edit]

Daisy's accomplishments motivated some high-profile women to pursue goals that contradicted society's expectations for them. In 1914, Pauline Paget, the wife of British politician, Almeric Paget, came up with the idea in to send female masseuses into combat to give massages to soldiers fighting for Great Britain in the Great War. Paget and her charity were recognized in 1915 by the U.K. government.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Lou Hoover[edit]

Lou Hoover, wife of former U.S. Food Administrator and President Herbert Hoover, felt comfortable publically discussing her passion for architecture because of the progress Daisy for women with the Girl Scouts of America. Architecture was a hobby intended mainly for men when Daisy and Hoover lived. [2]


Progress for Women and Minorities[edit]

'Women Say Go'[edit]

Girl Scouts of America encouraged women to be independent, which was a progressive move for the time. At the same time, during the Great War, the ‘Women Say Go’ campaign was launched in the United Kingdom by patriotic British women [3]. The group was motivated by hatred for the infamous misogyny of the German military. While the Girl Scouts prioritized women's progress, members of 'Women Say Go' were driven by vengeance.

Diversity Today[edit]

100 years later, the organization continues in this forward-thinking tradition. In recent years, Girl Scouts of America has made an effort to hire minority leaders. 45% of staffers at the Girl Scouts are from underrepresented groups.[4] In 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Girl Scouts of America a “force of desegregation." [5]


Footnotes[edit]

  1. Hoover, Herbert C. "Herbert Hoover Letter 1918." Letter to Juliette Gordon Low. 13 June 1918. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. World War I Girl Scouts Primary Sources. Georgia Historical Society, 18 July 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2015
  2. Epstein, Marni. "First Lady Lou Hoover Was Secretly an Amateur Architect." Curbed National. N.p., 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  3. <Ward, Paul. 'Women of Britain Say Go’: (n.d.): n. pag. Oxfordjournals.org. University of Huddersfield. Web.
  4. <Austin, Grace. "On My Honor: 100 Years of Diversity at Girl Scouts of America - Diversity Journal." DiversityJournal. N.p., 10 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  5. "Embracing Individuality Is Our Core Value." Girl Scouts. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.