(Reformer and founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States)
Juliette was born on October 31, 1860 in Savannah, Georgia. She was the second of six children born to William and Elenore Gordon. Daisy, as she preferred to be called, became interested in the arts while she was still a child, and when she became a teenager, she was sent to a boarding school in Virginia and then a French school in New York. After graduating, Daisy spent time traveling throughout the United States and Europe.
In 1886, Daisy married millionaire William Low, and as the wife of a wealthy land owner, she was introduced to the highest levels of British society. Daisy had spent years suffering from ear infections and had lost most of her hearing in one ear because of improper treatment, but at her wedding, she lost hearing in her other ear after a grain of rice thrown by well-wishers lodged in her ear and punctured her eardrum. In the early days of their marriage, the Low's appeared to be a happy couple, but as the years passed by, William spent more and more time away from the home. Daisy was lonely and frustrated and returned to art to fill her days. By the early 1900's, the marriage was coming to an end with news of William's affair with another women. In 1902, Daisy agreed to begin divorce proceedings, but William died in 1905 before they could be divorced.
After William's death, Daisy spent several years searching for something meaningful to do in her life. Her search ended in 1911 when she met and befriended Sir Robert Baden Powell, founder of the boy scouts, and soon, Daisy became interested in the youth movement. Soon, she was channeling all of her energy into the movement and founded the Girl Guide troops in Scotland and England. Eventually, she made a decision to introduce and offer the program to girls in the United States.
On March 12, 1912, Daisy gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides (soon to become the Girl Scouts of America), and from those 18 original girls, the program has grown to 3.7 million members, the largest educational organization for girls in the world. Daisy became its first president and gave freely of her own money in those early years.
In developing this movement, Daisy brought girls of all backgrounds together, giving them the opportunity to develop self-reliance and resourcefulness. She encouraged the girls to not only prepare for traditional homemaking, but also to prepare for future roles as professional women. Girls with disabilities were welcomed into the program with open arms at a time when they were excluded from many other activities.
By 1920, the Girl Scouts had become so large that a full-time administrative staff was hired to manage duties previously done by volunteers. Daisy retired from her post but continued with many of her activities within the scouts. And, although she was losing the last of her hearing and diagnosed with cancer, she traveled to England in 1924 to attend the World Camp of the Girl Scouts, volunteering to bring the occasion here to the United states in 1926.
She could barely hide the pain she was suffering as she hosted the week long event, and knowing she didn't have much longer to live, she made a final trip to England to say good-bye to her friends and then came home to Savannah. Daisy died in her home on January 18, 1927. She rests peacefully at the Laurel Grove Cemetery.
On October 14, 2005, Juliette Gordon Low's life work was immortalized in a commemorative, bronze and granite medallion as part of a new national monument in Washington, DC.