Atlanta’s Original Golden Eaglets

Golden Eaglet Pin, 1919-1939

The highest honor awarded by the Girl Scouts, currently named the Gold Award, was once named the Golden Eaglet (1919-1939). To earn this award, the girls had to demonstrate proficiency in 21 diverse subjects ranging from nature studies to athletics to homemaker activities. To become a Golden Eaglet, you had to:

  1. Be a First Class Girl Scout.
  2. Hold a Letter of Commendation (also known as the  Medal of Merit, 1922-1926).
  3. Be a registered Girl Scout at least three years.
  4. Girl Scout Economist Badge, 1920-1927

    Hold 15 specified merit badges plus six additional of candidate’s own choice. The required 15 had to be (1919-1926): Athlete, Bird Hunter or Flower Finder or Zoologist; Child Nurse, Citizen, Cook, Dressmaker, Economist, First Aide, Health Guardian, Health Winner, Homemaker, Home Nurse, Hostess, Laundress, and Pioneer.

Atlanta's First Golden Eaglets

Atlanta's First Golden Eaglets

On Saturday, February 9, 1924, the Golden Eaglet awards were presented to Edna Karston of Troop 18 and Elizabeth Skeen of Troop 2, in the Chamber of Commerce Assembly Hall at 3 o’clock. From the Atlanta Constitution:

“The badges were presented by Miss Dorris Hough, regional director of the southern states, who made a special trip to Atlanta for this occasion. The picture on the left is of Elizabeth Skeen and the one on the right is of Edna Karston.”

Mary Elizabeth Skeen, 1924

Mary Elizabeth Skeen, 1924

Mary Elizabeth Skeen (Mrs. Thomas Wiley Dawsey) was born on February 4, 1910, in Tifton, Georgia, and was the daughter of Lola Percy Skeen and Rebecca Baldwin Skeen. She later attended Agnes Scott College from 1928-1932, graduating with a B.A. in English, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She began work in 1935 on a Master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Chicago, and then married Thomas Wiley Dawsey on July 4, 1936, had a family, and moved to many places in the United States. She died on August 10, 2008, and is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.

Edna Karston, 1924

Edna Karston, 1924

Edna Karston (Mrs. Lester Earl Bush) later married and had a family. We are in the process of learning more about her life after Girl Scouts and will post the details when we receive them.

Note: Before the Golden Eaglet, the highest Scout award was the Silver Fish (1912–1916), but this was technically a Girl Guiding award and no American girl ever earned it. The next was called the Golden Eagle of Merit (1916–1919). However, the charter for the Atlanta Girl Scout Council was signed by Juliette Low on August 5, 1921, two years after the Golden Eaglet became the highest award.


Posted on May 19, 2011, in Council History, Gold Award and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Margaret Paschal

    When “The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting” arrives in September of this year (2011), Girl Scout historians and trivia buffs may want to make a note that four of the “Legacy” badge categories in the Girls’ Guide were among the required badges for Golden Eaglet: Athlete, Citizen, Cook and First Aide. (The other two Legacy Badge categories are Naturalist and Girl Scout Way.) There will be separate badges for each level, from Brownie – Ambassador, under each Legacy Badge Category.

  2. Katharyn Craven Dawsey, daughter of Elizabeth Skeen Dawsey

    Enjoyed your article – except for one thing. The date of death above for Elizabeth Dawsey is incorrect. Should be August 10, 2008 (not 2007). Other than that, I and the rest of her family are pleased with both the narrative and pictures presented about our mother.

    Thank you,
    Katharyn C. Dawsey, daughter of Elizabeth Skeen Dawsey (born 2-4-1910 died 8-10-2008)

  3. Dear Ms. Dawsey, Thank you so much for the correction. The Council would love to learn more about your mother and see more photographs of her. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience. We are very happy that the family was pleased with this story, and look forward to hearing from you.

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