Juliette Gordon Low
Juliette Gordon Low (1860–1927), also affectionately known by her nickname “Daisy,” founded Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912. She imagined a movement where all girls could come together and embrace their unique strengths and passions—and as Girl Scouts has done since, she made that dream a reality.
And though Daisy might not recognize the Digital Photography or Cybersecurity badges that Girl Scouts earn today, she strongly believed that everything Girl Scouts do should unlock their full potential and raise their confidence—a powerful legacy that still feels relevant to all Girl Scouts, past and present. Girl Scouts today still share plenty of similarities with the very first Girl Scout troop in 1912: they connect with their communities, get outdoors, challenge themselves, and find ways to make the world a better place.
Born Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon on October 31, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia, Daisy was known for her sense of humor, compassion, and concern for others. She was interested in athletics, the arts, animals, and nature—elements that would one day become a big part of Girl Scouting. As a child and young adult, Daisy experienced several ear injuries, resulting in almost total hearing loss that affected her for the rest of her life.
She married William Mackay Low in 1886, and together they set up homes in both England and Georgia. Juliette returned often to the United States to connect with her many friends and family members—and to find support during an unhappy marriage that ended shortly before her husband’s death in 1905.
A meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Daisy to establish Girl Scouts that same year. Telephoning a cousin from her home, she announced, "I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!"
From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 girls, Daisy broke the conventions of the time—reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls had a place to develop their leadership skills, advocate for themselves and others, and turn their ambitions into reality.
Using her innate talent for fundraising and public relations, combined with her vast network of friends and supporters, she led Girl Scouts with passion and determination—ensuring it was, and always would be, an experience that was “girl-led.”
Juliette Gordon Low died January 17, 1927, at her home in Savannah, Georgia, after a long and private struggle with breast cancer.
After her death, Daisy’s friends honored her by establishing the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, which powers international projects for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world.
Her home, often referred to simply as the Birthplace, was designated a registered National Historic Landmark in 1965. Owned and operated by Girl Scouts of the USA, visitors—including Girl Scout troops of all ages—can trace the arc of Juliette Gordon Low’s life and the founding of the Girl Scout Movement.
She is remembered nearly 100 years after her passing with camps, schools, and scholarships established in her honor. Other tributes include a postage stamp, numerous biographies, and even an opera about her life and achievements. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2012.
But most importantly, the vision of Juliette Gordon Low comes to life in every Girl Scout and Girl Scout alum who speaks up for what they believe in, leaves the world better than they found it, and blazes a trail of their very own.
1944: The United States launches a "Liberty Ship" named in her honor, the SS Juliette Low, hull number 2446.
1948: The United States Post Office releases a three-cent stamp commemorating Juliette Gordon Low as the founder of Girl Scouts.
1954: The city of Savannah names Juliette Gordon Low Elementary School after her. Elementary schools in Arlington, Illinois, and Anaheim, California, are also named in her honor.
1974: A bust of Juliette Gordon Low is dedicated and displayed in the Georgia State Capitol.
1979: The National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, inducts Juliette Gordon Low, along with Dorothea Dix, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Bayley Seton.
1983: President Ronald Reagan signs a bill into law naming a new federal building complex in Savannah in honor of Juliette Gordon Low—only the second such structure in the United States named after a woman.
1992: Georgia Women of Achievement, a statewide organization dedicated to promoting the accomplishments of exceptional women in Georgia history, inducts Juliette Gordon Low during its first ceremony.
2005: Juliette Gordon Low is memorialized in the Points of Light monument in Washington, DC, the only national monument paying tribute to individuals who selflessly champion “causes to help others realize a better America.”
2012: President Barack Obama posthumously awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, to Juliette Gordon Low for her “remarkable vision,” and celebrates “her dedication to empowering girls everywhere."