Happy Birthday, Juliette Gordon Low! On October 31 we celebrate the birthday of a woman who founded the organization are so proud to be part of – Girl Scouts! Nicknamed “Daisy,” this leader created real change in the area of female empowerment in an era and social class where she was expected to live by rules and not question the status quo. While you may know a lot about her life accomplishments, we compiled some interesting facts that will give you some insight into the woman who became a legend.
1. When “Daisy” formed the first Girl Scout troop in 1912 in Savannah, GA, she envisioned an organization that supported girls of all races, religions and abilities (a radical idea at the time). She insisted that any girl could be a Girl Scout. This mission grew into the world’s largest educational organization for girls, with over 3 million current members and 59 million alumnae.
2. She was able to stand on her head and even did so once in the board room of the National Headquarters to show off new Girl Scout shoes!
3. While in finishing schools as a young woman, she broke the rules quite frequently and got into a lot of trouble doing things like hiking, exploring and playing tennis.
4. She was mostly deaf due to injuries in her younger years. As a child she had a brain fever that resulted in hearing loss. Then, during her wedding at the age of 26, a piece of rice got lodged in her ear canal, causing further damage. Her nephew wrote that she used this to her advantage when founding Girl Scouts by pretending not to hear when someone said they didn’t want to volunteer or donate to the organization.
5. She helped organize troops to support war efforts during WWI. Troops collected peach pits (aided in producing masks that protected soldiers from chemical warfare), sold war bonds, tended to gardens and learned first aid to support the US.
6. Juliette retired from her post as president of Girl Scouts in 1920, but was given the title of “Founder” for the remainder of her life. Upon her death she was buried in her uniform and with a telegram from the National Board that read: “You are not only the first Girl Scout, but the best Girl Scout of them all.”
7. She has a ship named after her! In 1944 the US launched a “Liberty Ship” named the SS Juliette Low.
8. She grew up in a house divided during the Civil War. Her father was a Georgia-born Southern man who believed in the Southern secession and her Northern-born mother supported the Union and believed in abolition. Juliette’s childhood was a world where family members fought on opposing sides of the war, her father was away fighting and angry neighbors who didn’t understand their conflicting family beliefs.
9. Toward the end of the Civil War, Juliette lived with her maternal grandparents while under the protection of General Sherman. This is where she encountered Native Americans and their culture for the first time. She would continue to appreciate the culture for the rest of her life.
10. When Girl Scouts needed money, Juliette would put personal restrictions on her lifestyle so she could give more. For example, she wouldn’t use electricity in her house until after 5p to save money and even sold a prized pearl necklace to support the organization for another year.
What an inspiring woman! Thank you, Daisy, for all your hard work in creating life-changing experiences for millions of women. If you’d like to learn more about Juliette Gordon Low, we recommend this video series from Girl Scouts of the USA on her life. You can continue the tradition of philanthropy that Daisy started by checking out Daisy’s Circle – a monthly support initiative from Girl Scouts! It’s the perfect way to honor her life. What does Juliette Gordon Low mean to you? Comment below!!!!