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Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  72 reviews

In celebration of the Girl Scouts' centennial, a lively salute to its maverick founder.

Born at the start of the Civil War, Juliette Gordon Low grew up in Georgia, where she struggled to reconcile being a good Southern belle with her desire to run barefoot through the fields. Deafened by an accident, "Daisy" married a dashing British aristocrat and moved to

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 16th 2012 by Viking (first published February 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of my fondest childhood memories was the time I spent in the Brownies and Girl Scouts in elementary school. We met once a week after school in the music room, worked to complete merit badges, went on one large field trip each year, and, of course, sold cookies in the spring. One year I even attended a week long Girl Scout overnight camp. By the time middle school rolled around our troop leader moved and we could not find a replacement. I don’t know about the rest of the girls, but it would h ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to disabuse myself and others of the notion that Juliette Gordon Low's deafness was solely caused by having wedding rice thrown in her ears! Being deaf myself, I am grateful that the author of this admirable biography discusses Daisy's (as JGL was known) hearing impairment in reasonable medical terms and also thoughtfully imagines how her deaf identity affected her life. The story is an inspiring one. A woman of privilege, who made a disastrous marriage, found purpose in creatin ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Informative but a bit heavy on names and dates and therefore a bit of a dry read. I'd have liked to have heard more about the personalities and interactions of key players in a way that showed who they were rather than the dry factual reporting of their actions. In fairness to the author though, that may not be the type of book she wanted to write. If you like traditionally written history (emphasis on names, dates, places and famous names rather than people-driven history), this will work for y ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one night! It's a great story of how Juliette Low, her life in ruins after being betrayed by her ne'er-do-well husband, found purpose in her work with The Girl Guides in Scotland and then England, and went on to found Girl Scouts in the USA.

A couple of things that really struck me was that Juliette realized early on (probably because of her International work) that girls must be allowed to substitute their own words for God in the Promise, something that has allowed Girl Scouting
Sally Kilpatrick
I read this one for research purposes. I wanted to see if there was anything about Low and/or the founding of the Girl Scouts that might inform the book I'm writing about moms who want to scout.

Well, Low's life is fascinating. She's fascinating. She managed to squeeze a lot of life into her 66 years.

While there are parts of the book that really spoke to me, sometimes it was more about the logistics of the Girls Scouts than about Low's life. I think that's because Low sometimes held her cards clo
Melanie Faith
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every person has a story-- usually many! Juliette Gordon Low was not alone in this, but her remarkable perseverance and determination served her marvelously in the face of loneliness, illness, and disappointment. Her travels and wide group of eclectic friends alone make this book a remarkable read. I loved every moment of this meticulously-researched and candid biography of the founder of Girl Scouts. Low was in some respects a flawed, complicated woman of her time, but she marched to the beat o ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Biography of the Girl Scouts of America's founder.
The facts I remember about Juliette Gordon Low from my days as Girl Scout are scattered. She became deaf when a piece of rice was lodged in her ear at her wedding. Her family affectionately referred to her as Daisy. She founded an organization that meant the world to me.

The book was a little bit drier than I expected, but I appreciated the thorough research that went into it. I liked watching the story of the woman I though I knew begin to fles
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this biography of Juliette Gordon Low written by Stacy A. Cordery I choose to read this book to learn more about Juliette Gordon Low's life. I have fond memories of my own days as a Brownie and a Girl Scout. I knew only a little bit about Ms. Low's life from my Girl Scout days. I knew of her hearing disability and the incident of wedding rice getting into her ear which made her hearing worse. But what I didn't know is what a remarkable life she led. This book really brought to l ...more
Amy Anderson
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a Girl Scout for 10 years. I joined after the death of my grandmother and became inconsolable. I fleeted between 2 worlds and didn't seem to fit in the one of the living nor the one in the here-after. Out of desperation to wake me from my sadness, my mother signed me up as a brownie in 1987. The challenge of body and mind; the deep, enduring friendships; and the soul moving experiences with nature not only woke me, but gave me a desire to live again. I became who I am today because of the ...more
S.N. Arly
This was not my cup of tea.

As a new Girl Scout leader who did not grow up with scouting, I thought it would be good to learn a bit about where scouting came from. This is the third biography I've read about "Daisy" Juliette Gordon Low, and it's my least favorite. Some of the historical facts do not match up with the other two biographies.

While this book does contain some truly facinating information showing how the activities of the very first patrols impact us today (meeting snack time appears
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book about an amazing woman! I wish I had known this when I was a Girl Scout leader...the older girls would love it!
A "quick" trip to India from Georgia at the turn of the 20th century..WOW!!
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Jun 26, 2012 marked it as maybe-read-sometime
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: spotted in the library
Shelves: biography
Seemed kinda dry when I perused the first few pages. I'm not sure how well the author really connected with the subject. ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can hardly wait to read bound and in print!
Peggie Ross
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Seldom would I rate a biography as a page turner but this one makes my list. It is well written, filled with personality and anecdotes as well as hard facts. The author blends a compelling woman with the history around her life into a wonderful story. As a Girl Scout member for decades I am ashamed to admit how little I knew of Daisy Gordon's life. The basic facts of her childhood in Savannah, Georgia, developing deafness in adulthood and some vague connection with living in England where she me ...more
Linsey Albee
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a bit challenging to get into just because of the non-fiction biographical style it on written in. After getting over that, I found it to be a greatly interesting read. As a Girl Scout alumna, Girl Scout Lifetime member, and Gold Award Girl Scout, it was nice to learn more about the founder and the origins of this organization and of which I have been a member since I was 5 years old. Juliette Gordon Low, more affectionately known as Daisy, went through struggles such as her extrem ...more
Stephanie Fuhr
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was an awesome research endeavor and incredibly appreciated. I'm a troop leader, never herself a scout, so it was great to have a thoughtful resource on the founder instead of web bullet lists to understand her story. She was incredible and flawed and yet hard to fault for her energy and genuine personhood. This book also lends perspective on the American experience in late 19th and early 20th century. A woman trying to create opportunities for girls of diverse classes, races, and fait ...more
Kris Gallagher
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
As a Girl Scout, I am impressed with all the Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low accomplished in her life, despite her near-deafness and other ailments. At an age when many are yearning for retirement and while struggling with cancer, Low founded the Girl Scouts of America, which had well over 100,000 members by her death. The book is heavily sourced from personal letters and provides good insight into her character. From a reader's perspective, it has fascinating moments but often is a bit dry. Still, ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book includes Juliette Low's story as well as a great description of the start of the Girl Scout organization. Juliette Low had a fascinating life, mostly of privilege, but it was in part the class advantage that gave her the access to Robert Baden Powell and the resources to get the Girl Scout organization started and survive infancy. I was a Girl Scout from Brownies through Seniors and briefly spent time as a leader. There is so much in this book about the organization's history that I di ...more
Connie Schuelka
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book really helps me understand why Girl Scouting was so important to my Mom. Back in the 1930's and 1940's she really wanted to be a Girl Scout but there was no troop in her hometown. When I became Scouting age, she made sure I could be a Girl Scout. She was not only a troop leader, she became president of the local Council. She took our whole troop to Washington, D.C. She integrated girls from the Iowa Braille and Sight Seeing School into our troop. She enabled several of us to travel to ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the combo of personal story of Juliette Gordon Low, social history, and knowing the origins of my beloved Girl Scout uniform (and cookies!). And I had no idea about the differences between Girl Scouts, Girl Guides, and Campfire Girls. And the collaborate/compete relationship between the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts was fascinating.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful woman. Wonderful life. Wonderful organization for women and girls. Wonderful book. Cordery did a wonderful job.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
A fairly interesting read although I found that I wanted to know things that were not covered in the book - probably because the historical records don't exist ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good absorbing read on the personal life of the founder of the Girl Scouts...I was a brownie and a girl scout so I found this fascinating..
Sarah Logan-Reynolds
She was an amazing woman!
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Like many children growing up in the 1960’s I joined a scout troop as a Brownie and kept with scouting till I graduated from high school. I really enjoyed the Girl Scout summer camps (now long gone due to the economy) and working on badges. But it really never dawned on me that the Girl Scouting organization we now have was due to one very strong willed woman in the early 1900’s.

Juliette “Daisy” Gordon was born in 1860 as a Southern belle in Savannah Georgia. Her mother was from a very prominent
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Read this biography for a book club. I have to say that I would not have liked Juliette Gordon Low if I had known her-at least not how she as portrayed in this book - as an energetic, charismatic, but spoiled and manipulative socialite. She spent the first 50 years of her life searching for a purpose, which she did not find in her failed marriage, or in motherhood, or in traveling the world in luxury with titled personages. She was, of course, constrained by the Victorian era and the high societ ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Leilani by: Diane Rehm show
Shelves: history, biography
Happy memories of being in Girl Scouts when I was little led me to check this out after hearing an NPR interview with the author. Honestly, it wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped.

It starts out well with description of the tensions between her Northern mother and Southern father during the Civil War, and presents an interesting portrait of Low as an adventurous woman fascinated by life and looking for ways to contribute, never letting her deafness or miserable husband keep her down for long. But
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
How does a divorced, childless, sickly woman in her late 40s change the world? In the late 1800s, no less?

Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low was born into a prominent Savannah* family. All she was expected to do was marry well and have children. Welp, Daisy's marriage ended in a divorce/widowhood, and she could bear no children. And she was partially deaf. Now what?

This book brings you into Daisy's life and shows you exactly how a child nicknamed "Crazy Daisy" ended up enriching the lives of millions o
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am a life long Girl Scout. Reading about the founder, Juliette Gordon Low, of the organization I have dedicated to filled me with joy and fulfillment. Most of the book is focused on her life before Girl Scouts which makes sense given the lateness in her life when she was ready to found such a ground breaking organization. Cordery masterfully illustrates Daisy's relatives, the wars they participated in, her life abroad, her beliefs and hardships. All of these traits made me respect Daisy even m ...more
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this to anyone involved in Girl Scouts in any capacity, past, present or future. Juliet Gordon Low was a remarkable woman and this book tells the story of her life, from beginning to end. Born into privilege, her personal road was not always easy (a bad marriage, a lifelong battle with hearing loss). Despite this, and the limited roles openly granted to women in the early 20th century, JGL pushed the limits of propriety and forged a bold road for both herself and girls around th ...more
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