Getting Organized

The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.

—Juliette Gordon Low, 1916

Organizations and the material culture of insignia, uniforms, and awards built a sense of belonging among girls, fostered particular values, and shaped the path not simply to womanhood but also to active participation in local and national affairs.

 

Louise Davis, who grew up in Goldsboro, North Carolina, embraced scouting from an early age. With her bobbed hair, love of the outdoors, and many achievements (as recorded in her badges), she embodied the five requirements of the Golden Eaglet: character, health, handicraft, happiness, and service. As a grown woman, she continued a lifetime of service as a Scout leader.

Louise Davis (right) and Fellow Golden Eaglet Winner, around 1930

Louise Davis (right) and Fellow Golden Eaglet Winner, around 1930

Commendation to Louise Davis, 1930

Commendation to Louise Davis, 1930

Gift of Girl Scouts of the USA. National Historic Preservation Center

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Louise Davis and her troopmates broke with tradition and moved their patches from the sleeves of their uniforms to a sash, similar to the Boy Scouts.

Davis's sash sported a Golden Eaglet at the top, the highest symbol of achievement in the Girl Scouts at the time.

The other patches represent a diverse set of achievements—including some that challenged gender expectations. 

Find the one with the tiny wheel. That signified Davis's familiarity with automobile repair, including changing tires.

Louise Davis's Girl Scout Sash, around 1930

Gift of Girl Scouts of the USA. National Historic Preservation Center

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Louise Davis's Girl Scout Scrapbook, around 1926

Gift of Girl Scouts of the USA. National Historic Preservation Center

Louise Davis recorded her memories of scouting in this scrapbook. It gives us a valuable window onto girls and scouting in the early 1900s.

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Scouts recorded their adventures with cameras starting in the early 1900s.

Girl Scout Camera, 1950s

Gift of Diane R. O'Brien in memory of Paul V. and Thelma Rockhill

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