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Who Was Daisy Gordon And Why Is She So Important?

Daisy Gordon has been arguably the most
significant influence on girls in the US ever. The
founder of an organization, which has grown from
18 girls to over 3.7 million today, Daisy’s organi-
zation has impacted more than 50 million girls,
women (and even a few men) who have belonged
to it.

Born Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon on 31 October
1860, in Savannah, Georgia, Daisy was the second
of six children of
William Washington Gordon and
Eleanor Kinzie Gordon. Her paternal line is traced
back as far as John Gordon & Janet Ogilvie of
Pitlurg, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (abt. 1520.)
Daisy's line descends from their son John and his
wife Isabel Forbes.  Isabel Forbes is a descendant,
on her paternal line, of  William Forbes (1452) and
his wife Christine Gordon. Christine was the
daughter of Alexander Seaton Gordon and
Elizabeth Crichton, and thus through his mother
back to the progenitor of the Clan Gordon, Adam de Gordon!

As a young girl, Daisy was fond of exotic birds, dogs, and the arts. She wrote poetry, wrote
and acted in plays, sketched, and eventually became an accomplished sculptor and
painter. She attended boarding school at Virginia Female Institute (now Stuart Hall) in
Lynchburg, Virginia followed by  Edge Hill School in Charlottesville, Virginia run by
Thomas Jefferson's great-granddaughters, Misses Sarah and Carrie Randolph. She
finished at a French School in New York, Charbonniers. She then traveled extensively
throughout the United States and Europe. Daisy suffered from chronic ear infections as
she grew up and had significant hearing loss due to improper treatment. At her wedding
in December 1886, to William Mackay Low, a piece of rice lodged in her ear, piercing the
ear drum and resulting in an infection which caused total loss of hearing in that ear.

Daisy returned from England, where she had been living
with her husband, during the Spanish American War. She
and her mother established a convalescent home for
soldiers returning from Cuba. Her father, General William
Gordon, served on the Puerto Rican Peace Commission.  
She returned to England at the end of the war, where she
spent many years looking for something she could do to
make her life feel useful. It was her meeting with Sir
Robert Baden-Powell who introduced her to the growing
youth movement. Several months later she returned to her
native Savannah, and on March 12,1912 called her cousin
and said, “I've got something for the girls of Savannah,
and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to
start it tonight!"  Eighteen girls gathered at her house that
night and thus began the Girl Scouts of America.

Daisy, better known as Juliette Gordon Low, made sure that girls of all backgrounds were
given opportunities to develop self reliance and resourcefulness through out-door
activities. Physically challenged girls were encouraged to participate at a time when most
organizations excluded them. She also emphasized preparation in the arts, sciences,
business, citizenship as well as the traditional home roles. She maintained ties with the
Girl Guides organization in Britain throughout WWI and helped to lay the foundation for the
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Daisy died in Savannah on 17 January
1927 from cancer.

The Girl Scout organization lists the following notable facts:

*   On July 3, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill authorizing a stamp in honor
of Juliette Gordon Low. The stamp was one of the few dedicated to women.

*   During World War II, she had a "Liberty Ship" named in her honor.

*   In 1954, in Georgia, the city of Savannah honored her by naming a school for her. A
Juliette Low School also exists in Anaheim, California.

*   On October 28, 1979, Juliette Low was inducted into the National Women's Hall of
Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.

*   On December 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill naming a new federal
building in Savannah in honor of Juliette Low. It was the second federal building in history
to be named after a woman.

*   In 1992, a Georgia non-profit honored Juliette Low as one of the first Georgia Women
of Achievement. A bust of Juliette Low is displayed in the State Capitol. In 2000, The Deaf
World in Wax, a traveling exhibit, featured her as a famous deaf American.


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Juliette Gordon Low by Edward Hughes, 1887
Juliette Gordon Low, 1887
Daisy in her Girl Scout Uniform
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