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This Day in Georgia History

October 31, 1860

Juliette Gordon Low Born

To view an image of Juliette Gordon Low, see the Georgia Archives

Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah. Her family traveled extensively, a habit she would carry on into adulthood. While traveling in England she met and married William Low in 1886. The marriage was not a happy one, and Juliette continued her pre-marriage traveling habit. Her husband died in 1905, giving her even more time for travel and discovery. While in England in 1911 she met Robert Baden-Powell, naval hero and founder of the Boy Scouts. When over 6000 young girls tried to enlist as Boy Scouts, Baden-Powell asked his sister to organize a Girl Guide organization based on similar principles. It was at this juncture that Juliette Gordon Low entered the picture. She recognized a need for such a girl’s organization and it quickly became the central focus of her life. Low established the first troops in Scotland and London, then soon decided to bring the Girl Guide organization home to America. The first meeting in America took place in Savannah on March 12, 1912. The popularity of the organization spread rapidly, thanks largely to Low’s tireless efforts to promote and attract influential sponsors for the organization. The Girl Scouts of the United States of America was officially incorporated in Washington, DC in 1915, with Juliette Gordon Low elected as national president. Upon her resignation in 1920 she was designated with the title “Founder” and her birthday was proclaimed “Founder’s Day.” She continued to work with the organization, culminating in the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. hosting the Fourth International Camp in a brand new training center. The conference (held in 1926) was attended by both Low and Baden-Powell, plus delegates from twenty-nine countries. During her life she had seen the Girl Scouts grow from that first meeting of eighteen girls to an international organization with a membership of approximately 148,000 girls and women. Juliette Gordon Low died in Savannah less than a year later, on January 17, 1927, and was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery.