The Year of the Girl

I have a pack of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies in my freezer. I treat myself to one or two occasionally, although it’s hard limiting myself since you really can’t eat just a couple. I can’t buy Samoas anymore because I won’t stop until I eat the whole box.

While we may be enjoying the beginnings of spring, Girl Scout cookie season is also upon us. And, while many of us will happily succumb to the guilty pleasure, these are cookies with a cause. According to the Girl Scouts, “every cookie has a mission,” from teaching girls how to manage money, to supporting our overseas troops, to funding a camp for city kids.

As you dig into your favorite box this month, you’ll also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts of the USA. On March 12, 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low gathered 18 girls from Savannah, Ga., for the very first troop meeting. Since then, the organization has grown to include more than 3 million young women and adults. Some of our nation’s most notable women have roots in the organization: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, astronaut Sally Ride and former first lady and National Book Festival chair Laura Bush.

Girl Scouts Troop #1 with founder Juliette Low, right. 1917/Prints and Photographs Division

The Library’s online photograph collections are a wealth of interesting Girl Scout-related items, including images of troop members engaging in a variety of activities and spending time with first ladies.

While I myself never made it past Brownie status, you can’t help but be inspired by the enthusiasm of the organization’s membership. A quick scan of the news in recent days reveals stories about girls organizing a museum exhibition, collecting donations to send some 2,700 boxes of cookies to troops stationed overseas and working with a local humane society to collect food and other items.

You can also peruse historic newspaper collection to see what the Girl Scouts of yesteryear were up to.

7 Comments

  1. SalG
    March 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for the link to historical newspapers and the photographs.

  2. Janet Giugler
    March 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Back in the 50’s I sold cookies by the case mostly to extended family. Spent a free week at Girl Scout Camp for my efforts. Still have the badges and pins. Go Girls. Some of my best memories.

  3. Michaela
    March 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Lovely to know more about the origins of the Girl Scouts and know others put the thin mints in the freezer too!

  4. Jose Luis Hernandez
    March 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    My two granddaughters belong a girl scout group in Mexico City. They form weekly activities in the neighborhood city park….their activities are helping to form their personality……It´s lovely to know everything about tasks to help the community or to get a good emotional health

  5. Mary Chapman
    March 22, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I was only able to be a Brownie for six months (transitioning from Montana to New Hampshire and then back to a population too sparse for such clubs) but I remember the projects still: they were worthwhile and made me see beyond myself.

  6. L B Schlueter
    March 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks for your enthusiasm for historical photos. As an MLIS student intern I am currently working to digitize our local historical library’s photo collections. Many are of architectual subjects from the late 1800’s. I have now begun to rediscover a town that I have lived in 30 years.

  7. Mary Gene
    March 31, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Enjoyed reading all the comments, but I think you may need to do a research on “Sally Ride”, when asked if she was ever a Girl Scout, She told us “no”. So you might want to check it out. I could be wrong and am willing to say “sorry” if you are right.
    Memories come flooding back as I was reading what people were saying about their Scouting life, I too was a Brownie and felt so proud to wear it to school on our meeting day, and then when I went to Junior High Scool, and Senior High. I was made fun of for somethiing that I truly had put my heart and soul into, so when girls would make fun of me, I would just say “Why don’t you come and join me and my troop and you can see what fun Scouting is all about.” 55 years later surley I can’t be wrong!!!!

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