An Independent Woman: The Life of Lou Henry Hoover

By Anne Beiser Allen; Jon L. Wakelyn | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
Girl Scouts and Women's Athletics

Thus far, all of Lou's projects had, to some extent, been extensions of her husband's work. When a troop of Girl Scouts asked permission in 1917 to plant a War Garden at "In The Woods," she embarked on a field of endeavor entirely her own.

Lou had met the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette "Daisy" Low, in London during the early years of the war. Daisy Low was the Georgia-born widow of an Englishman who had been a part of British high society and a confidant of Edward VII when the latter was the rakish Prince of Wales. She still had many friends in court circles. During the early part of the war, Daisy had been involved in the various philanthropic efforts sponsored by American-born women like the Duchess of Marlborough and Jennie Churchill. It was then that she met Lou Hoover. Daisy's primary interest, however, was the Girl Scout movement. She was a close friend of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, who had encouraged her to set up a Girl Guide troop on her husband's property in Scotland. When she returned to her native Savannah in March of 1912, Daisy organized the first American Girl Scout troop at a school run by an old friend.

Inspired by Daisy's contagious enthusiasm, the program expanded rapidly. By 1913 it had established a national headquarters in Washington. In 1915 the organization was officially incorporated, a constitution and by-laws established, and a national board of directors elected under the presidency of Juliette Low. By 1917 membership had reached over seven thousand girls and adults. When war broke out, the Girl Scouts -- in accordance with the part of their oath requiring service to their country -- supported the war effort by planting War Gardens and selling bonds.

-89-

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