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Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

Harris & Ewing, photographer. Girl Scouts, Troop #1 (Mrs. Juliette Low, Founder, right; Elenore Putsske, center; Evaline Glance, second from right), 1917. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (089.00.00)
Girl Scout Handbook. New York: Girl Scouts, Inc., 1933. General Collections, Library of Congress (090.00.00)
Girl Scout sash and insignia pins, ca. 1964. Private collection. (091.00.00, 091.00.01)

Girl Scouts of the U.S.A

Influenced by a Scottish organization called Girl Guides, Juliette Gordon Low (1860–1927) founded the first American branch of the group in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia. The organization became the Girl Scouts in 1913, with Low serving as its first president. Emphasizing inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance, and service, the organization soon became a worldwide movement for girls. The first Girl Scout handbook in 1912 listed a total of twenty-seven proficiency badges, similar to those that appear on this sash displayed here, which included first aid, cooking, and camping, among others. Today, there are approximately 2.5 million girl and adult members worldwide.