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The Golden Eaglet

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.

Girl Scout History at the Resource Center

Service Center of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

The Girl Scout Resource Center and the Girl Scout Archives live side-by-side at the Mableton (Atlanta) Service Center. The Resource Center provides hands-on access to history for girls and adults who want to hold or touch as well as look at materials from the past. Leaders may check out older handbooks to share with the girls, or check out an entire activity kit that includes books, uniforms and other Girl Scout as well as popular materials from the past.

The history-based activity kits include:

  • Brownie Girl Scouts Through the Years: 1930s
  • Brownie Girl Scouts Through the Years: 1940
  • Ponytails and Poodle Skirts: Your Sock Hop In a Box (1950s)
  • Discovering Our History (Girl Scouting in the USA)
  • Daisy’s Days: The Life and Times of Juliette Low

There are also “historic” videos (VHS) available for checkout:

“AN INTERVIEW IN TIME”– GSUSA, 1981 – 5 minutes — an imaginary interview with Juliette Low recaps some history of Girl Scouting in the U.S. as well as the ideals behind the Movement; contains many archival photos; explains the organization of Girl Scouts at the national and council levels. Part 1 and Part 2 are on YouTube on the GirlScoutVideos (GSUSA) channel.

“FROM KHAKI TO KELLY: WATCH OUR GIRL SCOUT STYLE”– Greater Minneapolis GSC, 1995 – 20 minutes; this video style show features 24 different historical uniforms; a girl narrator tells the story of the historical period when each uniform was worn, from 1912 to 1995.

“GOLDEN EAGLET, The” — GSUSA, 1918/1982 VHS and DVD – 20 minutes – – this classic silent film (with subtitles) made in 1918 shows the early days of Girl Scouting. Shot on location with real Girl Scouts, it was intended to raise community interest in starting Girl Scout troops. Juliette Low appears briefly at the beginning and end of the movie. Part 1 and Part 2 are on YouTube on the GirlScoutVideos (GSUSA) channel.

“SOMETHING FOR THE GIRLS” — GSUSA, 1962 – 21 minutes – original film was produced for the 50th anniversary of Girl Scouts in the U.S.; shows photos from the early days of Girl Scouting; includes some biographical information about Juliette Low.

“UNCOMMON SENSE” – The History of Juliette Low and the Girl Scouts. Old photographs and interviews tell a short history of Juliette Low’s life up to the founding of the Girl Scouts in America.

“WORLD FRIENDSHIP” – GSUSA, 1948 – 19 minutes — an historical film featuring an international camp for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from Brazil, Canada and the U.S., held in conjunction with the 12th World Association Conference in Cooperstown, NY; story follows the experiences of three girls in camp, including meeting Lady Baden-Powell; emphasizes the international scope of Girl Guiding and Scouting, and the fun of learning about other countries and cultures.

To find out more about these materials, contact Margaret Paschal, Program Resource Center Coordinator of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta at 770-702-9610 or mpaschal@gsgatl.org.