RepositoryGirl Scouts of the USA Collection and Archive, Cultural & Property Assets Department Savannah and New York
Date1903 – 2012
Administrative/Biographical History ElementJuliette Magill Kinzie Gordn was born in in Savannah, Georgia, on October 31, 1860. Juliette Gordon – known as “Daisy” to her friends and family – enjoyed a childhood filled with imagination and independence. She spent several summers with her siblings and cousins at her aunt’s home in Etowah Cliffs in northern Georgia. There, she wrote poems, stories, and plays and developed a lifelong passion for studio arts, especially painting, drawing, and sculpting.
In her teenage years, Daisy was sent to boarding schools in Virginia and New Jersey, including the Virginia Female Institute, which is now called Stuart Hall School, and later to a French finishing school in New York City. Having completed her schooling, Daisy turned her interest to traveling abroad. Eventually, she spent most of each year living in England and Scotland. It was during on such stay in England that she renewed her acquaintance with a distant cousin, William Mackay Low, whose father maintained business interests and a home in Savannah.
They married in 1886, against the wishes of Daisy’s father, who considered William Low irresponsible. Billow, as Daisy called her husband, was a man who lived large, mingling with royalty and aristocracy. Sadly, their marriage began to disintegrate. Her husband was pressing for divorce when he died suddenly in 1905. When his estate was finally settled, Juliette Low found herself, at age 45, financially secure and just as rich in friends and family, but still feeling aimless and fearing she was living a “wasted life.”
That ended in 1911 when, in London, she made the acquaintance of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, a war hero, leader in the British “youth movement” and founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in Britain. Juliette Low became active with Girl Guide troops in London and Scotland. She decided to bring Scouting movement to the United States in March 1912. Low served as the organization’s first President, a position she held for five years. She established the National Headquarters in Washington D.C. in 1913, and then moved it to New York City in 1916. Juliette Low continued to serve as “founder” of Girl Scouts of the USA until her death on January 17, 1927. She died leaving behind a legacy that has had an impact on the lives of millions of girls.
Scope and ContentThis record group is about Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Files cover Low’s life, the founding of the Girl Scouts, Gordon family history, Low’s artwork, homes, and portraits, post-mortem honors, and her centennial birthday celebration. Includes correspondence (although most are copies, not originals), biographical and family documents, a finding aid of the Gordon family papers, press releases, magazine and newspaper articles, booklets, magazines, remembrances and tributes about Low, Low’s will, obituaries, photographs, diary excerpts, speeches, writings, poetry, and stamps.
System of ArrangementThe record group is arranged into 7 series.
1. General Information
3. Gordon Family
4. Homes, Art, Writings
5. Personal life and Death
6. Remembrances and Tributes
7. Publications and Articles
Languages and Scripts on the MaterialEnglish
Existence and Location of OriginalsCorrespondence originals are in the Georgia Historical Society.