Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon Low was born on October 31, 1860. ‘Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.’ was founded by her in the United States. She became a Girl Guide after being inspired by Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the ‘Boy Scouts,’ and founded her own company of Girl Guides in England in 1911. In 1912, she returned to the United States and founded the first Girl Guide troop in the United States in Savannah, Georgia. The Girl Guides in the United States were renamed the ‘Girl Scouts’ in 1915, and Low was the first leader. We’ll help you celebrate her special day today.
Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon Low, better known as “Daisy,” was born on October 31, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia. She was born into a powerful and wealthy family and raised in the traditional manner of a wealthy southern family. She went to boarding school at the Virginia Female Institute in Staunton, Virginia, Edge Hill School outside Charlottesville, Virginia, Miss Emmett’s School in Morristown, New Jersey, and ultimately Mesdemoiselles Charbonniers, a French finishing school in New York City, as a young adolescent. She was a huge lover of animals, especially exotic birds. She had always been athletic since she was a child. One of her favorite skills was standing on her head, which she would later perform at the Girl Scouts National Headquarters to demonstrate the new uniform shoes. She was also deafened as a result of neglect of chronic ear infections and an accident in 1886.
Low married William Mackay Low, a rich Englishman, on December 21, 1886, when she was 26 years old. They didn’t have children and spent a lot of time apart. Her husband left her for another woman in 1902. When he died suddenly in 1905, their divorce processes were still in progress. He bequeathed most of his fortune to his mistress, but Low successfully challenged the will and was awarded a significant settlement, which included his Georgia property. In the summer of 1911, Low’s life took another significant turn when Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the creator of the Boy Scouts, requested Low to help with the fledgling Girl Guides program in the United Kingdom. Low personally invited the local girls to weekly gatherings at her estate in Scotland. She founded more Girl Guide organizations in London before returning to Savannah in 1912 to launch the Girl Guides movement in America. The original 18 girls registered as the first group of American Girl Guides on March 12, 1912. The name ‘Girl Guides’ was formally changed to ‘Girl Scouts’ in 1915.
Low devoted the next 14 years of her life to the Girl Scout cause in the United States and around the world, giving her passion, enthusiasm, and wealth to the cause. She died at her Lafayette Square house in Savannah on January 17, 1927, after a long struggle with illness. The Girl Scout movement had grown from the initial 18 girls to 168,000 members by the time she died. Laurel Grove Cemetery is where Low was laid to rest. “You are not only the first Girl Scout but the best Girl Scout of them all,” read a telegram from the Girl Scouts U.S.A. national officials tucked inside her pocket.
Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, asks Low to aid in the fledgling Girl Guides movement in Great Britain.
Low forms the first two American Girl Guides patrols, registering 18 girls.
Low sets up the Girl Scouts' national headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Low steps down as the National President of the Girl Scouts to devote more of her time to promoting Guiding and Scouting on an international scale.
The Girl Scout convention takes place in her hometown, Savannah.
She develops breast cancer and later passes on in 1927.
Why We Love Juliette Gordon Low
She encouraged feminism
For over a century, the Girl Scouts have taught generations of girls the fundamentals of feminism. And the Girl Scouts couldn’t have existed without Low.
She was philanthropic
The Helpful Hands Club was formed by Low. She taught the group how to sew garments for Italian immigrants, demonstrating a commitment to philanthropy that she would later teach in her Scouts.
She was artsy
She was a curious, adventurous, artistic child who was also known for being clumsy — but that didn't stop her. She composed and performed plays in addition to creating a literary newspaper that included her early poetry.
5 Surprising Facts
The cause of her deafness
A grain of rice thrown for good luck during her wedding caused her to lose hearing in one ear as it lodged in the eardrum.
She was buried in her uniform
She was buried in her Girl Scout uniform in Savannah, Georgia.
An organization was founded in her honor
The Juliette Low World Friendship Fund was established in her honor by her friends.
Tasted sugar at age four
She didn't have her first taste of sugar until she was four or five years old when General Sherman came to see her mother and brought a packet of sugar with him.
She was good at many things
She was an accomplished swimmer, horseback rider, and fisherwoman who also enjoyed tennis and curling, Scotland's national sport.
Juliette Gordon Low FAQs
How did Juliette Gordon Low get the nickname Daisy?
She was nicknamed Daisy, a common nickname at the time, by her uncle.
Why did Juliette Gordon Low create the Girl Scouts?
She created the Girl Scouts as she wanted to give girls the opportunity to get involved in their community and the outdoors.
Why did Juliette Gordon Low sell her pearls?
She sold her pearls to keep the Girl Scout organization alive.
Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday dates