Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace
The founder of the Girl Scouts of America, Juliette Gordon Low, was born in this house on October 31st, 1860. She lived here until she married in 1886 to her husband William Low. Juliette Low had been a part of Girl Guides work in England and Scotland and brought Girl Scouting to America at the suggestion of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement. Juliette started the first Girl Scout troop in March of 1912 at the Louisa Porter Home in Savannah. In 1933 her birthplace was acquired by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Today it is used as a memorial to their founder and a center for girl scouting activities. The house, along with the adjacent Andrew Low House (Andrew was William's father) and its carriage house, comprise a National Historic Landmark District.
Backstory and Context
Juliette was an inquisitive child; she was interested in art, poetry, the outdoors, and was good at organizing playtime with family and friends. She was sent to boarding schools and upon finishing her schooling, returned to Savannah in 1880 to be in charge of the household after her sister Alice died. It was during this time she met William Low and they fell in love. They did not get married until 1886 because he attended Oxford University.
Unfortunately, their marriage did not last. She had always been a prone to sickness and was unable to bear children. For his part, William spent much of his time hunting and gambling. After he passed away in 1905, Juliette traveled and spent time thinking about what she could do to help others. On a trip to England in 1911, she met Baden-Powell and finally found her new calling in life.
Juliette was able to start Girl Scouts (it was first called Girl Guides but changed to Girl Scouts in 1913) because she was particularly skilled at public relations and fundraising. She used her large network of friends for support and to help spread the world. Juliette wanted to make sure Girl Scouts would be "girl-led." One of the main elements to Juliette's Girl Scouts was diversity. She wanted all girls to be welcomed in Girl Scouts if they chose to be. As a result, girls of all different cultures, classes, and ethnicities joined Girl Scouts.
On January 17, 1927, Juliette passed away after a struggle with breast cancer. She is recognized for her will to strengthen and empower young women. After she passed, she was awarded many honors. Her friends made the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, which helps Girl Scouts finance international projects. Even today, Girl Scouts still remember and dedicate scholarships, camps, and schools to her. Most recently she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 from President Barack Obama. Juliette changed the way the world viewed women and the way women viewed themselves. With her encouragement and guidance, young women had the courage to take leadership in a time when that was uncommon.
"Juliette Gordon Low." Girl Scouts of the United States of America. September 21, 2016. http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-history/juliette-gordon-low.html.
Gerdes, Martin. "Juliette Gordon Low Historic District (Revised Documentation)." National Park Service. http://focus.nps.gov/GetAsset?assetID=6fe47b20-8bb7-47c6-a481-742a4702f4f1.