In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low sparked a worldwide movement inspiring girls to embrace their individuality, strength, and intellect. She was the first in a line of supportive adults who dedicated their lives to empowering girls and young women, and we continue to celebrate and honor her legacy on her birthday, October 31. Learn more about JGL and her Chicago roots and get excited for Founder’s Day!
Guest Written by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historians
Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon was born in Savannah Georgia on October 31, 1860, but did you know she descended from early Chicago pioneers? Her great-grandparents were John Kinzie and Eleanor Lytle McKillip Kinzie, who in 1804 bought a home that had originally belonged to Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, which was situated on the north bank of the Chicago River approximately where the Tribune Tower now stands.
Their son, John Harris Kinzie and his wife, Juliette Augusta Magill were Juliette’s grandparents. In 1857, they lived at Cass and Michigan Streets (now Hubbard and Wabash). Near the end of the Civil War, Juliette lived with her grandparents for a short time.
Juliette owned a beautiful strand of natural pearls that had been a wedding gift from her husband. She liked to wear her pearls on special occasions. In 1915, when the young Girl Scout organization needed funds, Juliette sold her pearls for $8,000. In today’s dollars, that generous gift would amount to nearly $217,000.
In 2011 and 2012 during the centennial anniversary celebration and in commemoration of Juliette’s gift, the Girl Scouts sold a limited edition pearl necklace and earring set.
Happy birthday, JGL!
Read more about Juliette Gordon Low and Girl Scout history.
Honoring the history of Girl Scouting in our local communities is a wonderful way to explore the evolution of one of the country’s oldest organizations dedicated to girls and women. You can read all about the GCNWI Girl Scout Historians on our blog, or visit our website for more information on how to get involved.