Blog Archives

Girl Scouts in LaGrange

Sue Belden, GSGATL Archives Volunteer and Laurie Sedicino, Legacy Museum Curator

In 2012 the Girl Scouts of the USA, as you might have guessed by now, will turn 100 years old. There are celebrations being planned all over the United States, and here in Georgia, there will be many places to participate. Events will be happening in the Atlanta area, the Savannah area (birthplace of GSUSA), and in many towns throughout the state.

LaGrange, Georgia, situated in Troup County,  has had a long history with Girl Scouting.  In 1930, the LaGrange Girl Scout Council was chartered by the Girl Scouts of the USA. By 1958, this Council was merged into the Pine Valley Council, covering most of middle Georgia. In 2008, Pine Valley Council merged into the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.  Right now, the Girl Scouts in Troup County are celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting with a Membership Drive.

Sash from Pine Valley Council, ca. 1948-1962

Early next year, the Legacy Museum on Main will have a great exhibit on Girl Scouting in Troup County. The Legacy Museum Curator, Laurie Sedicino, recently paid a visit to the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives to see if there are any records or artifacts from the Troup County area which could be loaned for this exhibit. She met with some of our volunteer staff, and not only viewed records and artifacts, but also had a tour of the Council facility. We enjoyed her visit, and look forward to working with her on this project.

To the right is the sash that Sue and Laurie were inspecting in the picture above.  In slanted rows, the badges are: 1) Hostess, Cook, My Troop; 2) Housekeeper, Tree, Childcare; 3) Adventurer, Skating, Dabbler; 4) Interior Decoration, Cyclist, Back-yard Camper; 5) Cat & Dog.

The permanent exhibit gallery of the Legacy Museum on Main, in the renovated first floor of the 1917 landmark bank building, features the history and development of West Georgia from Indian settlement to present day. The exhibits spotlight major events in the region and the stories of the people who responded to the events, as well as bringing to life the people who explored, settled and transformed the region.

Documenting Pine Valley Council

In 2008, the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta was formed from the former councils of Girl Scouts of Northwest Georgia, Girl Scouts of Pine Valley, and Forsyth County (former Girl Scouts of Northeast Georgia Council). Girl Scouts of Pine Valley was originally comprised of Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spaulding, Troup, and Upson counties.

During April and May 2011, the Council Archives received council records, photographs, uniforms, handbooks, pins, patches, troop scrapbooks, songbooks, videos, and more from the former Pine Valley Council office in Griffin, Georgia. Council staff have been carefully preserving records and artifacts from Pine Valley and ensuring that they are deposited into the Council Archives in Mableton, Georgia.

1960 Girl Scout National Council, St. Louis, Missouri

One interesting item from this collection is a panoramic picture taken at the 1960 Girl Scout National Council Convention, November 14-18, 1960 in St. Louis, Missouri. Held every three years, the 52nd Girl Scout National Convention is set for this coming November10-13, 2011, in Houston, Texas. The very first National Convention was held in 1915 in Washington, D.C., where the constitution and bylaws were adopted, and Juliette Gordon Low was elected National President of the Girl Scouts from 1915-1920.

Homemade 1914 Girl Scout Uniform

Among the uniforms we received was one dating from 1914. It is a homemade tan Intermediate (or “Junior” equivalent) uniform consisting of two pieces: one long-sleeved middy blouse and a skirt which is 32” long. (A middy blouse is a loose blouse with a sailor’s collar, worn by children and women). Another interesting uniform  is a 1953-60 era Girl Mariner blue uniform. (The Mariners interest group was launched to give Senior Girl Scouts an opportunity to develop skills in boating, sailing, navigation, and water safety.) The hats in the collection included both girl and adult hats. The adult hats ranged in dates from 1948-1972, and a few of the girl hats included a dark brown Brownie beanie with an orange logo (used 1962-1993) and a Senior overseas hat with yellow cord and logo (used 1956-71).

Wing Scout Manual, 1949

A few of the treasured handbooks we received included a Wing Scout Manual (used from 1949-1955), a 1938 Badge Handbook, and a 1939 Leaders’ Guide (used from 1939-1947). The Wing Scout program was a Senior Girl Scout program for girls interested in flying and wanting to serve their country, started in 1941 and ending in the 1970s. In July 1942, 29 troop leaders from fifteen states met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to  take Wing Scout leadership training. These leaders returned to their councils and began setting up Wing Scout troops. In 1959, Girl Scout Council in North San Mateo County, California was  presented with an offer from United Airlines San Francisco Management Club President J. L. Burnside to start an aviation  program  for Senior Girl Scouts. One of the highlights of the Wing Scout program was the courtesy flight provided to Senior Girl Scouts using United Airlines’ jets. For many of the girls, this was the first time they had flown in a plane. Senior Girl Scouts who had been in the program for three years were given the opportunity to take over the controls during flight in a small aircraft. The program was discontinued after United Airlines experienced financial setbacks in the 1970s.

Pine Valley Council Flag

We also received the flag of the Girl Scouts of Pine Valley Council. It is 3 x 5 feet, made of nylon with the traditional Girl Scout logo in the middle. The Council flag would have flown in front of their office. Do you have pictures of this flag flying in Griffin or being used in a flag ceremony? We would love to see it “in action.”