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Juliette Gordon Low is the founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
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Daisy's friends and family rose to support her, hosting her at their houses so she would have socially acceptable reasons to be away from home.
Before the divorce proceedings could be finalized, however, William died of a seizure during a trip with his mistress. In an ultimate blow, Daisy discovered shortly after William's death that her husband had amended his will, leaving the bulk of his fortune to Bateman. Daisy was forced to contest the will,
and eventually negotiated a settlement that provided her with an annual income and the Savannah Lafayette Ward estate. Bateman still received a sizeable portion of William's fortune in the legal battle, however.
After the loss of her husband and much of her financial stability, Low began traveling the world, sailing to France, Italy, Egypt and India. But she continued to yearn for a sense of purpose. This came to her in 1911, when she had a chance meeting with British general Robert Baden-Powell, a war hero and founder of the Boy Scouts. Originally determined not to like Powell (she believed he had received unduly large credit for the success of the Second Boer War and the siege of Mafeking), Low was instead instantly charmed by his manner.
Baden-Powell had founded the Boy Scouts with the intentions of training young boys for defense and preparedness in case of military invasion. Baden-Powell emphasized that the training should be fun, an idea that Daisy deeply appreciated.
The two shared a love of art and travel, and both shared common family backgrounds. They became instant friends, and started sharing ideas for the formation of a scouting troop for girls.
The early troops were known as Girl Guides, and were originally led by Baden-Powell's 51-year-old sister, Agnes. These were girls who had shown such an interest in Boy Scouting that they appeared in their brother's troops, dressed in piecemeal Boy Scout uniforms, eager to learn the same skills the boys were learning. Agnes was overwhelmed by the increasing number of girls showing an interest in becoming a Girl Guide, and both the Baden-Powells and Low agreed that these girls should have their own groups‚Äîmostly to appease apprehensions that the girls would feminize the boy's troops, or that the boy's groups would create masculine girls.
Low started several troops in Scotland and London, for girls of varying income brackets. The effect on the girls' self-esteem was so striking that Low decided she had to take the program to the United States, starting with her hometown of Savannah, Georgia. On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low registered the first troop of American Girl guides. The first of the 18 girls to register was Margaret "Daisy Doots" Gordon, her niece and namesake. Renamed the Girl Scouts in 1913, Low used her own money, and the resources of friends and family, to push the organization to new heights.
After years of ill health, Daisy discovered she had breast cancer 1923. She kept the diagnosis a secret, instead continuing her work with Girl Scouting, and her final mission to use the Girl Scouts as international ambassadors for peace.
Buy Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts, by Stacy A. Cordery, on Amazon.com
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