Girl Scout Connection
Over a century ago, before women had the right to vote, Juliette Gordon Low launched what later became a worldwide movement, the Girl Scouts. Encouraging girls to embrace their intellect, their athleticism, and their unique individuality was, at the time, a somewhat radical idea.
Juliette Magill Gordon Low was born in Savannah, Georgia, on October 31, 1860. At the age of 26 she married William Mackay Low, the son of Andrew Low. Known as “Daisy” by friends and family, she was a creative and talented woman, and certainly ahead of her time. By many accounts Daisy was eccentric in personality and also quite charming. She suffered partial hearing loss early in her life. Having such an impairment at a time when medical solutions were scarce must have been challenging for her. Juliette was a skilled artist and enjoyed sketching and sculpting. She was a theater enthusiast and also acted in plays and wrote poetry. Animal companions held an important place in her life. She was fond of exotic birds as well as dogs, cats, and horses. Her beloved pets can be seen in many of her formal portraits as well as informal snapshots taken throughout her life.
The Girl Scouts Movement
After her marriage to William Low, the couple left for England and settled there, only returning to Savannah for occasional visits. William Low’s fast lifestyle, which often excluded his wife, contributed to the weakening of their marriage. The couple separated officially in 1901. Before their divorce was finalized, Willie died in 1905. The settlement of his estate resulted in Juliette receiving the Andrew Low House. It was during this time, after Juliette moved back to Savannah, that she became interested in forming a membership group of girls inspired by the Girl Guiding Association in the U.K.
On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Juliette gathered 17 girls to register for the first 2 troops of American Girl Guides. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts by 1913. The organization was incorporated in 1915 with Daisy serving as president until 1920 when she was granted the title founder. For the last several years of her life, and during the early formation of the Girl Scouts organization, Juliette’s home was what we now call the Andrew Low House. The associated Carriage House was used as the Girl Guide Headquarters during the early years of the organization. Today, what was the Carriage House is now known as Girl Scout First Headquarters. The site is owned and operated by the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia and features a popular museum and a gift shop.
Juliette Gordon Low National Historic District
The Andrew Low House Museum, together with the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and the Girl Scout First Headquarters, make up the Juliette Gordon Low Historic District. The District is designated as a National Historic Landmark. All three properties have a strong association with the origins of the Girl Scouts of America and its fascinating history. Today, all three of these organizations welcome thousands of girl scouts each year from all over the country.