Juliette Gordon Low : the remarkable founder of the Girl Scouts

by Stacy A. Cordery

Paper Book, 2012




New York : Viking, 2012.


In celebration of the Girl Scouts' centennial, this biography ia a salute to its maverick founder. Born at the start of the Civil War, Juliette Gordon Low grew up in Georgia, where she struggled to reconcile being a good Southern belle with her desire to run barefoot through the fields. Deafened by an accident, "Daisy" married a dashing British aristocrat and moved to England. But she was ultimately betrayed by her husband and dissatisfied by the aimlessness of privileged life. Her search for a greater purpose ended when she met Robert Baden-Powell, war hero, adventurer, and founder of the Boy Scouts. Captivated with his program, Daisy aimed to instill the same useful skills and moral values in young girls, with an emphasis on fun. She imported the Boy Scouts' sister organization, the Girl Guides, to Savannah in 1912. Rechristened the Girl Scouts, it grew rapidly because of her unquenchable determination and energetic, charismatic leadership. In this biography, the author paints a dynamic portrait of an intriguing woman and a true pioneer whose work touched the lives of millions of girls and women around the world.… (more)

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½ (9 ratings; 3.9)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tututhefirst
Stacy Cordery has given us an incredibly in-depth biography, and I'm not going to do a point by point re-cap of Daisy Low's life here in this review. What I want to focus on is the detail, the insight, and the obvious research that went into this project. Cordery admits to a life-long fascination
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with her subject, and tells us of its inception many years ago. She has followed Juliette Gordon's early life, her married years, and her widowhood, giving us almost an overload of facts, feelings, and a sense of the difficulties her deafness caused her throughout her life, but without becoming maudlin or hero worshiping. While it could have done with some editing to cull out unnecessary details about secondary characters (particularly their family trees), it was organized, well-documented, and should serve as the definitive biography of a very special lady for years to come.

The book of Gordon Low's life can almost be divided into two stories : her early life as a Southern socialite and marriage to a member of the Bristish aristocracy, followed by her years as a widow, a community activist, and the founder of the Girl Scouting movement in the US. Cordery introduces us to "Daisy's" friends, family, collaborators, and the few detractors who are portrayed honestly and without rancor. The illustrations are numerous and telling. It was unanticipated fun to sit and pour through pictures that, while they were definitely before my time, did emphasize the timelessness of the Scouts, and brought back fond memories for me of my days around the camp-fire. Through it all, Daisy Low is presented as a very down-to-earth, not without her foibles human being, bearing up to physical disabilities, personal betrayals, loneliness, and frustration who still managed to find the fun, to bring her inimitable sense of humor and grace to a life of staggering challenges, and in the end emerge as a national and on-going role model for young women.

It is particularly notable as a publication to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts this year. Happy Birthday Girl Scouts, and best wishes for 100 more.
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LibraryThing member JanaRose1
Juliette Gordon Low is most famously known as the founder of the Girl Scouts. Born in Savannah right before the civil war, she was known as Crazy Daisy, a precocious child who defied conventional rules and wisdom. Vowing never to marry, she fell in love with an English aristocrat and moved across
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the sea. After realizing her husband was a wastrel and adulterer, she began divorce proceedings, only to have him die due to his bad health and excesses. After meeting Robert Baden-Powell, she became enthralled with the Boy Scouts and helped organize the Girl Guides in England. After returning to Savannah she began the Girl Scouts and dedicated her life to enriching girls lives.

I found the book interesting, yet at times it seemed too long. It read as a history book with lots of facts and dates. I would have enjoyed a more story-type book. But overall I found it to be well written and engaging.
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LibraryThing member cookierooks
The life of Daisy Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. How can you not like her? I was a GS, and my daughter is one now.


Original publication date


Physical description

xiv, 382 p.; 24 cm


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