Category Archives: Georgia Archives Month

Georgia Archives Month 2014

ga-archives-supportOctober is Georgia Archives Month! During this month we celebrate the value of Georgia’s historical records, share how they enrich our lives, and acknowledge the people who preserve and maintain them, such as those of us here on the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta History and Archives Committee! 

Our committee is comprised completely of volunteers- adults and older Girl Scouts- who understand how important it is to keep a detailed record and collection of Atlanta’s Girl Scouting past.* We want Girl Scouts of today to feel connected to the Girl Scouts of yesterday and realize just where it is that they come from. “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Future” and “Girl Scouts Make History” are our mottoes here at the GSGATL Archives. Juliette Gordon Low herself understood how important our past is to our future when she said, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow and we are its makers.”

Juliette’s birthday, October 31st, is known as Founder’s Day. There is a display currently up at the Switzer Library’s (formerly Central Library) Georgia Room in Marietta, Georgia that celebrates Georgia Archives Month and Girl Scouts together! If you’re in the Marietta area, swing by and take a look! Learn a little about the history of Cobb County and Greater Atlanta Girl Scouting and see some of the items that the Georgia Room has in its collection. The display will be up until November 1st.

"Celebrating Georgia Archives Month with Girl Scouts!" on display in Marietta's Switzer Library

“Celebrating Georgia Archives Month with Girl Scouts!” on display in Marietta’s Switzer Library

*If you are interested in volunteering in the GSGATL Archives or donating any materials to us, please contact us at GirlScoutArchivesAtlanta@gmail.com! We always appreciate any help and can’t wait to hear from you!

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Post A Week 2011 Challenge

In the spirit of more timely posts, the volunteer Archives staff of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is joining the Post-A-Week 2011 Challenge from WordPress.  This is especially important during Georgia Archives Month and counting down to 2012, the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

We would love to have your input on the types of topics you would like to see posted here. Please be sure to send us an email at GirlScoutArchivesAtlanta@gmail.com with your suggestions or questions.

Georgia Archives Month 2011

Georgia History--Worth Saving!

It’s that time again! If you missed it last year, it’s not too late! October is Georgia Archives Month, where we celebrate archives and history throughout Georgia. Last month and this month have been busy at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives, as requests have been coming in for information on Council history and loans of material for programs and exhibits. Everyone is gearing up for the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting! We are so excited!

What sort of questions are you asking at troop meetings or service unit meetings? We would love to start compiling a FAQ of Council and Girl Scout history that you could share with your scouts and parents. Please send in your questions to helpline@gsgatl.org. We will create a new page on our blog devoted to helping you discover more about our Council and Girl Scout history in general that you will be able to access 24/7 (or at least when your Internet connection is working).

Come in to the HQ in Mableton, Georgia, and view our exhibits on the way to the Badge & Sash store, in the main training room, or while you visit the Resource Room. We have handbooks, uniforms, dolls, quilts, and camping exhibits that illustrate our rich history.

Happy 150th Birthday, Juliette!!

From the Girl Scouts First Headquarters in Savannah, Georgia

As Georgia Archives Month comes to a close, it’s only fitting to also bid Happy Birthday to our founder, Juliette Gordon Low. This year marks her 150th birthday, as she was born October 31, 1860.

Juliette shows up on the recent edition of the Fall 2010 issue of the Georgia Historical Quarterly, gracing the cover in a kimono, ca. 1886, just in time for her birthday. The issue includes a photo essay, Girl Scouting in Savannah 1912-1927.

On Sunday, October 31, the Girl Scouts First Headquarters relit the “Eternal Flame of Friendship” in the courtyard of the former Low Carriage House.  It was originally lit at Girl Scout First Headquarters on November 14, 1963 by Daisy Gordon Lawrence, Juliette Gordon Low’s niece and the first registered Girl Scout. The re-lighting ceremony focused on the future. Girl Scouts who attended the Girl Guide Centennial bonfire in England re-lit the flame of friendship in Savannah, linking Girl Scouts to their international sisters as they begin their journey toward the 100th anniversary.

A recent biographer has a blog about Juliette, where her two recent articles detail Juliette’s 30th and 32nd birthday. It’s a fun read!

From the GSUSA’s website:

Juliette Low was very athletic. From her childhood on, Daisy was a strong swimmer. She was Captain of a rowing team as a girl and learned to canoe as an adult. She was also an avid tennis player. One of her special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she still could do it, and also celebrated nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.”

And finally, on the Girl Scouts of the USA’s blog, there is a list of all the ways Girl Scouts all over the United States are honoring her birthday by volunteering in service projects in their article entitled “Halloween Fun and Good Deed Run-Down.”

Heritage Hunt

Interest Projects are what girls aged 11-17 work on to learn about various topics and to gain new skills—everything from fashion and fitness to communication and camping. This Interest Project is named Heritage Hunt.

Are you fascinated by other cultures or stories of your ancestors? Do you love history and research? Looking to the past can be like taking a journey to an ancestral land. It is a way of appreciating and honoring your roots.

In an Interest Project, the girls have to learn skills and technology, do service projects, and explore careers. The requirements are two pages long, so here is the summary of what’s required:

  • Skill builders: 1) Create a family tree for yourself or someone you know. 2)  Develop an activity or project that brings families and friends together to celebrate their heritage and cultural diversity in a festive way. 3) Do two activities that young women in previous generations would have done as part of their everyday lives (short list given). 4) Make a collection of pictures of old buildings in your community or local area, then select one building and learn all you can about it. 5) Learn more about family traditions. 6) Search out information about your community’s heritage.
  • Technology 1) Locate an old work site and find out all you can about it. 2) Compare the way records were kept 50 years ago and how they are kept today. 3) Make comparisons between the way people live today and 100 years ago. 4) How is computer technology useful in gathering historical information.
  • Service Projects: 1) Conduct family interviews and compile an oral history. 2) Plan a project to increase community awareness and pride in your cultural heritage. 3) Volunteer a couple of hours each week at a local library, historical preservation society, etc. 4) Identify several examples of literature that represent the cultural diversity in your community.
  • Career Exploration: 1) Choose a woman of the past and learn all you can about her. 2) Create a collage that represent five or six careers that women in your community have. 3) Identify various careers that are a legacy in your family. 4) Contact your local historical society and ask about services provided to the community. 5) Learn about adoption procedures and how they have changed over time.

Girl Scout Memories

Juliette Gordon Low pinning the Golden Eaglet, Girl Scouts' highest honor at the time, on a Girl Scout

As Girl Scouting heads towards its 100th Birthday (March 12, 2012), the Archives of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is launching its own memory project. We encourage everyone to go and take a look at our group on Facebook, specifically created for this project, called Girl Scout Memories.

This is just one way that we are gathering Girl Scouts’ memories, both young and old, from all over the United States and the world. We started the discussion with these questions:

What do you remember most fondly about your Girl Scout experiences? Camping? Troop meetings with friends? A special event or trip? Best friends? Be sure to include dates and places so we can place you within our 100 years of Girl Scout Memories.

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing on Facebook, please feel free to contact the Archives to either email stories to us or to make arrangements to meet in person to learn about your Scouting experience. Think about the uniform you wore, the camps you went to and what you did there, the life-long friends you made, or the SWAPS that you still have. We have many former Girl Scouts come up to the Cookie Sale Booths in the Spring to share that they were part of Scouting with great smiles on their faces. We encourage all of you to make this memory project one of the best ones yet!

What is Georgia Archives Month?

Society of Georgia Archivists members with Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

The purpose of Archives Month is to celebrate the value of Georgia’s historical records, publicize the many ways historical records enrich our lives, and recognize those who maintain our communities’ historical records. This is the ideal time to call attention to the Archives of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and its work in preserving Georgia’s documentary heritage. Governor Sonny Perdue signed the Georgia Archives Month proclamation on September 9, 2010.  There are many events and exhibits created for Archives Month each year in Georgia, and the list of 2010 events is available in PDF.

Georgia’s celebration of archives and history is part of a larger celebration throughout the United States. Archives Month originally began in New York in 1989 as “New York Archives Week,” and then the idea quickly spread to other states. The Society of American Archivists also celebrate October as American Archives Month. For 2010-2011, SAA is focusing its public awareness efforts on a year-long campaign—I Found It In The Archives!—that reaches out to archives users nationwide to share their stories about what they found in the archives that has made a difference in their lives.

Georgia Archives Month 2010: Travel Back in Time

The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is proud to post this year’s Georgia Archives Month poster in our Service Center while we travel back in time and learn more about our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, the history of our Council, and the history of Girl Scouting. To see posters from all over the United States, please visit the website of the Council of State Archivists.

Girl Scouting Around the World


Girl Scouting Around the World Junior Badge

There are many badges that Juniors (grades 4-5) can earn that relate to history in their badgebook. One of these is the very first one in their book (Junior Girl Scout Badgebook, New York: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2001) called “Girl Scouting Around the World.”

This badge is a great one for a new Girl Scout to work on, as it gives her a better appreciation of the organization to which she now belongs. It also discusses and lets the girls explore some of the most important traditions within Girl Scouting. The building on the badge is a depiction of The Girl Scouts Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland, affectionately called “Our Chalet.” To earn this badge, a Junior must finish six of the ten suggested activities.

WAGGGS Logo

All Girl Scouts wear this WAGGGS (World Trefoil) pin as part of their official uniform.

As a Girl Scout, you are not only a member of Girl Scouts of the USA, but also a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS. As a WAGGGS member, you are part of a sisterhood of millions of girls who share many of your Girl Scout values and traditions. This badge will help you discover the global reach of the Girl Scout community.

  1. Thinking Day: Thinking Day falls on February 22 each year. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouting, and his wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell had the same birthdays on that day, so February 22 was chosen as a time for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to celebrate international friendship and world peace. Plan a way to celebrate Thinking Day that recognizes your Girl Scout connection to girls around the world.
  2. WAGGGS on the Web: Check out the WAGGGS website to find out about the different countries that are members of WAGGGS, and the projects that are being sponsored by that organization. Share what you learned with your troop, group, or other girls.
  3. Show the World: Create a display that shows how Girl Scouts are part of a world sisterhood. Exhibit your display for Girl Scout troops or groups, your Girl Scout council, your school, or a local library.
  4. Connect with Younger Girls: Create a game or storybook for younger Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Try out your game or storybook at a neighborhood event, at camp, or at a bridging ceremony for younger Girl Scouts.
  5. Girl Scout Central: Visit Girl Scouting’s official online site for all things Girl Scout: Girl Scout Central! Click on the link to WAGGGS to find out more about this world-wide organization. Also look at “travel” and check out special international places you and your Girl Scout friends might want to visit.
  6. Girl Scouting’s Founder: Juliette Gordon Low: Find out about the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund. What does this fund do? How do girls all around the world benefit from the money in the fund?
  7. International Expert: Choose one country where Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting exists. Become an expert on that country and the activities girl members can do there. Learn a game, song, craft, recipe, or activity unique to that country and share it with others.
  8. World Service: Find out about a world problem that affects girls your age. You could think of a problem related to the environment, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, or another issue. Share what you have researched with other girls and think of some ways girls in WAGGGS could help solve this problem.
  9. Common Roots: Learn about the lives of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. Also find out about how the Girl Guide movement came about. Share your information with members of our troop/group or with a Brownie Girl Scout troop.
  10. WAGGGS Travel: WAGGGS has four World Centers that any Girl Scout can visit. Find out the following about each of the four centers. Where is it? How can you get there? What types of events and activities can a visitor take part in there? You can find this information online at the WAGGGS web site.

What We Do: Accession

In our Georgia Archives Month display, we discuss what archives are and what we do as archivists. One of our core missions is to collect and preserve the history of Girl Scouting. One of the ways we accomplish this mission is by encouraging donations of uniforms, artifacts (objects), patches, sashes, pictures, or other memorabilia of scouting in the north Georgia area. These are considered accessions.

This pin was given out at the August 2010 Service Unit Meetings.

The oldest items in the collection are uniforms from 1915, which predate the Council’s creation by six years. However, not everything in our collection is “old stuff.” A current pin and patch will become collectors’ items in no time. Gathering history as we go is much easier than trying to track rare items down. That sweatshirt you got from a past Leader’s Weekend can become a part of a treasured textile collection. Photographs from a troop camping trip can provide researchers with a rich visual history. Learning the provenance of a particular SWAP can be fascinating. Service Unit agendas document the governance and events at the local level.

This patch was given out to Girl Scouts who registered by April 2010 for the 2010-2011 Girl Scout membership year.

If you are a former Girl Scout, think about not only renewing your membership (only $12!) but also think about those uniforms, hats, sashes, badges, handbooks, and such that are packed away in that box in the attic. Perhaps you came across an older relative’s memorabilia and are unsure where it should go. Please contact the Archives and let us know what you have. If you grew up in another state (or anywhere in the world), we can put you in contact with your former Council.

How Girls Can Help Their Country

The first Girl Scout Handbook, 1916

Want to learn how to tell time by the stars (page 83)? Ever wonder how to use signal flags in sending Morse code (page 78)?  Then this book is the right one for you. A facsimile of this first handbook is on exhibit in the Georgia Archives Month display at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Service Center. On page 131 you can even learn how to stop a runaway horse.

Girl Guides were created in England by Agnes Baden-Powell, after six thousand girls joined the Boy Scouts organization created by her brother, Sir Robert Baden-Powell. Juliette Low was a close friend of this family, and in March 1912 organized the first American group of Girl Guides in Savannah, Georgia. In 1913, the name was changed to Girl Scouts because the object of the organization was to promote the ten Boy Scout Laws: Truth, Loyalty, Helpfulness, Friendliness, Courtesy, Kindness, Obedience, Cheerfulness, Purity, and Thrift.

The training of Girl Scouts is set forth in the Handbook, written by the Baden-Powells. Juliette Low obtained the rights of their book and, with the help of committees and experts from all parts of America, adapted it to the use of the Girl Scouts of the United States. Although some of the text is dated, there is still material that is helpful today. On page 122, she instructs the Girl Scouts:

“While searching a burning house tie a wet handkerchief over the nose and mouth. Remember that within six inches of the floor there is no smoke; when you have difficulty in breathing, crawl along the floor with the head low, dragging any one you have rescued behind you. Tie the insensible person’s hands together and put them over your head. You can then crawl along the floor dragging the rescued person with you.”

Some of the Merit badges in the Handbook include skills that you might expect a girl of the time to learn: art appreciation, cooking, or learning about music and nature. However, there were also Merit badges that included Automobiling, Boatswain (seamanship), Electricity, Marksmanship, and Photography. Here are the requirements for the Electricity Merit Badge:


Electricity Merit Badge, 1916

  1. Illustrate the experiment by which the laws of electrical attraction and repulsion are shown.
  2. Understand the difference between a direct and an alternating current, and show uses to which each is adapted. Give a method of determining which kind flows in a given circuit.
  3. Make a simple electro-magnet.
  4. Have an elementary knowledge of the construction of simple battery cells, and of the working of electric bells and telephones.
  5. Be able to replace fuses and to properly splice, solder, and tape rubber-covered wires.
  6. Demonstrate how to rescue a person in contact with a live electrical wire, and have a knowledge of the method of resuscitation of a person insensible from shock.

The text of the book is currently available online via Project Gutenburg, and a copy of the original edition has been scanned and available via Google Books. You can purchase inexpensive facsimiles of the book through the gift shops of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and the Girl Scouts First Headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. It is a fascinating read, and well worth the investment.