How does a political scientist wind up as a Girl Scout historian? It is not as big a leap as you might think. Political science deals with the balance of power, center-periphery relations, identity, ideology, and symbolism, which can be useful tools for studying any social group, like Girl Scouts.

While I use this background and perspective to think about Girl Scout issues, some days I just want to focus on classic uniforms, beautifully designed badges, and the latest cookie flavors. I promise to avoid jargon and professor-speak on this site. Scout’s honor!

Girl Scout, Girl Scout History Project

Instead, I hope you come away understanding that there is so much more to Girl Scouting than just cookies. I want you to discover the world of Girl Scouting beyond neighborhood troops.

I will introduce you to some of the millions of women who have worn similar uniforms, sung the same songs, and made the same promise for over 100 years. I hope today’s Girl Scouts get a feeling of that sisterhood that they are now a part of. It is never too late to join.

In addition to this blog, I also curate a series of digital archives that document Girl Scout programs past and present. These are:

  • Girl Scout Leader Magazine: Over 600 scanned issues of still-relevant articles.
  • Cookie Crumbs: Cookie patches, cookie prizes and more.
  • GSCO Badge Info: Thousands of vintage badges produced by local councils in very limited quantities. Collectors love these colorful treasurers and they may inspire activities for today’s troops.

As chair of the Archives and History Committee of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, I am looking for new ways to share our collection with as many people as possible.  I invite you to visit our history program centers in Frederick, Maryland, and Winchester, Virginia.

Girl Scout, Girl Scout History Project
Receiving the GSCNC Capital Award from Council President Diane Tipton (l), April 2014. The award recognized my book, Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.

I am a freelance writer and editor and Gold Award Girl Scout based in Washington, DC. I am thrilled at the opportunity to combine these interests.  Please contact me at

—Ann Robertson

The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, its professional staff, or the other volunteers on the GSCNC Archives and History Committee.

24 responses to “About Ann”

  1. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing your project.

  2. So glad I stumbled across your site, Ann. (found it while reading my EFA member email list). I live in CA but do occasionally make it back to DC, so next time we come I will make it a priority to visit the GSCNC archives. I like GS history too, and have written a couple of times on my editing blog, as well as on my personal blog, about what I am learning now that my daughter is in scouts. So if you ever need a what’s-going-on-today perspective for context, let me know!

    1. Thanks, Susan!

  3. WOW! I love this! I’m getting such wonderful bits of history that I never knew, like GS being accused of promoting Communism?! Sounds like some thought GS was not conservative enough. I had the opposite problem in the 60’s; GS was TOO conservative. They were “part of the Establishment” or (worse yet) they were “Square”. How things change. Yet Scouting just keeps rolling along.

  4. melody brasher Avatar
    melody brasher

    I had the opportunity to Meet this lovely lady can you tell when she passed and where is she buried our game troop went to see her in her later years and we met her son. And talk with her

  5. Melanie R Mason Avatar
    Melanie R Mason

    I am so thrilled that I stumbled across your blog. I found myself just sucked right in! Fascinating – all of it! Thank you for your dedication to preserving the wonderful history of the Girl Scouts in our area. I am particularly intrigued by how your Troop of Seniors and Ambassadors have also embraced this history – clearly a credit to your enthusiasm as well! I was never a girl scout as a girl – I can never forget going to the organizational meeting at my school so excited about becoming a Brownie and then feeling the disappointment of no adult stepping up to be the leader. Fast forward – when my daughter was in Kindergarten and another Mom called me on the phone and “invited” me to be a leader with her and “ride her coat tails” I remembered my experience as a child and of course, said yes. 15 years later, my Gold Award Girl Scout daughter is a rising Junior in college and I still have a troop of Seniors and Ambassadors about to travel to Iceland and PAX Lodge. I, too, feel a connection to the history – not really sure why other than the respect owed to something that endures for over 100 years and still remains vibrant today. Thank you for preserving the past!

  6. Mary Helen Horne GSNETX and GSTOP Avatar
    Mary Helen Horne GSNETX and GSTOP

    I have some information for National Capital. Please e-mail me.


    I LOVED GIRL SCOUT SO SO SO MUCH. 🙂 😉 xoxoxoxo

  8. Hi Ann! This is a great project. I feel like I met you at some Girl Scout event. Maybe in Savannah? I’m a great-niece of Juliette Gordon Low. All the best.

    1. Hi Margaret, thank you so much for your comment!! I’m not sure if we’ve met. I actually will be in Savannah next weekend. My daughter is at SCAD and will be living in the dorm nearest to the birthplace.

  9. Suzen Shallow Smallwood Avatar
    Suzen Shallow Smallwood

    Hi Ann, I just found your site. My mother, Jeanne DePartee Shallow founded Troop 1, Kabul, Afghanistan in 1956. We made our own embroidered scarves with the Afghan and US flags crossed behind the GS logo. I still have my scarf and merit badges on the sash we had made by a tailor there. Our small troop had girls from eleven different countries, mostly from other diplomatic families. I have wondered if pictures of our troop and campouts in Sheik’s compounds would find a home somewhere. This could be so important now with the situation in the Middle East. We also had a troop in Tehran, Iran, our next post, from 1959-1961. Suzen

    1. Hi Suzen, I’d love to publish a photo of your troop!

  10. Ann,
    Your article about Boypower Manpower is right on the money. I have been a member of the BSA for over 50 years. Boypower 76 may have been the beginning of the end for the Boy Scouts. During the program we were threatened with a rumor that the federal government was going to start a national youth program if the Boy Scouts were not successful. There has been a steady decline ever since we became an organization and ceased to be a movement, Every attempt to increase membership added to the decline.


  11. Thank you for the article on Petticoats, Pot and Politics. I attended as a Senior scout from Massachusetts.

  12. I attended and worked at a Girl Scout Camp in Northern Wisconsin in the 70’s and 80’s. We watched a film titled “Follow Me Girls” It was filmed in the early 60’s. It incorporated many scenes from The Golden Eaglet,It was great rainy day programing and just a lot of fun to watch. I think we could recite the entire film from memory!! Sadly the film that the council had has been lost, and there is a group of former counselors that would love to get a hold of a copy and relive our fondest movie memories. Have you ever heard of it, or can you provide any leads? We believe it was produced for the 50th anniversary of Girl Scouting.

    Thanks so much for all you have done!

  13. Ann Ellett Lingel Farrar Avatar
    Ann Ellett Lingel Farrar

    I desperately need to make you fellow Scouts aware about our Bunny- Oleda Schrottky – she was probably the closest adult-role person in my life. My mother Alma Gibson Baker (Ditzy) would say the same. She died before I became actor/playwright/composer/ costumer….but never enough. She wasn’t on this plane then. I have many photos and her hope chest with wondrous embroidered pieces. She had three services when she left. I was demanded ( no problem, just couldn’t find her) to learn her favorite poem. I sat with Bunny in the church, everyone else in the “audience”, hard for her to be in the casket but I tried to talk to her. That was Wakefield MA. Richmond was harder but ,she has been good.I had finished my freshman year, wore my senior Scout uniform to those services. Then there was NYC. We were who were closest we’re far away, no uniform, no poem, Oleda Schrottky as I would have introduced her. She wrote me a poem when I was born, she didn’t think it was very good. But there it is . The truth, unless you have to sell it,is not always up to one’s own standards. I have to write this – “Bunny,hope this is acceptable, love Ann and Many More”.

  14. DeLaine Niesley Avatar
    DeLaine Niesley

    Ms Robertson,
    I grew up living at Rockwood National Girl Scout Camp. I was excited you mentioned the camp in your blog. If you have more information, I would love to read what you have. I loved Rockwood, but I was there to see its end as well. It was very painful since I had roamed the 98 acre wood for over 25 years of my life. I am also wondering if you had ever tried to contact me or my parents a year or so ago? Someone, writing a book about the camp, emailed me and wanted pictures.

    Right now, I am especially interested in Mrs. Lou Henry Hoover’s involvement with Rockwood. I remember playing in the ballroom of the manor house where she had donated much of the furnishings. If you have additional information, please direct me.

  15. Marcia L. Hilton Avatar
    Marcia L. Hilton

    I believe that Mrs. H. Parkman that helped with the publication of “How Girls Can help their country” is my great, great grandmother. Is there any way to check and see what her first name was? If it is my great, great grandmother, then I must be “dyed in girl scout green blood”.

    1. Hmmmm…..I might be able to find that out.

      1. Marcia L. Hilton Avatar
        Marcia L. Hilton

        Her name is listed as Mrs. Henry Parkman. Thank you so much!!

  16. Becky Bradley Avatar
    Becky Bradley

    I stumbled across a GS handbook in an antique store. Penciled inside the cover was the name:
    476 Gerhard Street
    Philadelphia PA 28

    I collect old books and google what I find penciled inside the covers but can’t find anything on Ann.

    Are you able to help me put a face with a book?
    Thank you
    Becky Bradley

    1. When was the handbook published?

      1. 1946.
        I wish I could send a picture of the page because I’m not sure how to read it but it starts with:
        First impression Oct 1940
        2nd 41
        3rd 42
        4th 42
        5th 43
        6th 44
        7th 44
        8th 45
        9th 46

        So I assume this edition being the last listed is 1946.
        Thanks. Becky.

  17. Hi Ann,
    What a pleasant surprise to stumble across your site! I now live in NYC but was also a member of Mary Henry’s G.S. troop in Paducah. Not sure if you’ll remember me, but I remember you. What a flood of memories finding your site unleashed!
    Please email me if you’re open to catching up!
    Amy Simmons

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