Shawnee Council Treasures

I took a snowy drive to Winchester, VA, on January 31 to meet with the curators of the GSCNC Shenandoah Region archives.

Sandy Jones and Patsy Campbell have items on display in two rooms of the Youth Development Center off Battaile Drive.

They have uniforms, pins, patches, photos, mugs, and many other items that any Girl Scout will recognize, along with artifacts unique to Shawnee Council, which merged with GSCNC in 2009.  The collection also covers Camp White Rock and the councils that merged to create Shawnee in 1963: Blue Ridge (Virginia), Eastern Panhandle (eastern West Virginia), Washington County (Maryland), and Shawnee (Allegany and Garrett Counties, MD, and Bedford County, PA).

Troops wanting to learn more about Girl Scout history, perhaps for their Girl Scout Ways badges, should consider a visit.  Contact Sandy at to schedule a tour.

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The Road to the White House Is Lined With … Girl Scouts!

In honor of President Barack Obama’s second inaugural on January 21, the display cases at GSCNC headquarters feature items from past inaugurations and photographs donated by former First Ladies.

Click image to enlarge.

Girl Scouts have had close ties with the White House from the movement’s earliest days. Every First Lady since Edith Wilson has served as Honorary National President.

Lou Henry HoIMG_5996over is doubly tied to Girl Scouts, serving as both Honorary President while First Lady (1929–33) and as National President twice (1922–25 and 1935–37). We have original photos personally inscribed to the Girl Scouts from Mrs. Hoover, Grace Coolidge, Mamie Eisenhower, and Bess Truman, among others, as a wonderful portrait of Mrs. Coolidge wearing her Girl Scout uniform outside the White House.

Girl Scout units have been involved in Inaugural activities since President Woodrow Wilson was sworn in for a second term in March 1917.*

WP March 4 1917

WP Feb 24 1917

The 1917 parade was the first to allow women to march. First, however, the Girl Scouts had to prove they were up to the task. The Washington Post reported on February 24, 1917, that 400 girls “went through a practice drill yesterday morning on the ellipse of the White House grounds. The girls were khaki uniforms, khaki hats, black shoes and black or dark brown stockings.” Following their rehearsal, Col. Robert N. Harper, head of inauguration committee, concluded, “The fair Scouts will be a credit to the great procession.” Once accepted, the Girl Scouts used the Post to invite “All Girl Scouts of Washington who have uniforms” to march. “No coats of sweaters will be permitted.  Black shoes and stockings and white gloves are also to be worn,” according to the instructions.

More recently, Girl Scouts have served as parade ushers, helping with crowd control, offering directions, helping lost visitors find their bearings. Some 122 girls came out for Jimmy Carter in 1977 and 500 teen Girl Scouts trained for Ronald Reagan’s freezing second inauguration in 1985. President Reagan also arranged for the Girl Scouts to work at Inaugural Balls, where they help open limo doors for lucky ticket holders. In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s the girls donned special capes and berets for the event.


On display at GSCNC are a yellow windbreaker from the 1989 ceremonies, a blue knit cap worn by Boy Scout volunteers in 2009 and the red knit cap Girl Scouts will wear on January 21, 2013. We also have a selection of ribbons, patches, and buttons given to Girl Scout and Boy Scout volunteers.  (Thank you to the National Capital Area Boy Scout Museum for lending some of these items!!)

This display will remain in place through mid-March.  Please stop by GSCNC and see what’s new from the archives!IMG_5997



*In 1933 the 20th Amendment moved presidential swearing-in ceremonies from March to January.

Doll Exhibit at GSCNC Main Office

There’s still time left to check out the Girl Scout doll exhibit in the GSCNC lobby!!Image

Dolls dressed in Girl Scout uniforms have been popular toys and sought-after collectibles for nearly a century.  The earliest known Girl Scout doll dates to 1917, and “generations” of rag dolls, paper dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, Barbies, and Groovy Girls have all worn uniforms that match their owner’s official brown, blue, or green dress.

Among the items on display are a homemade 1930s-style Mariner (poor dear, she’s lost a shoe and a sock), an Effanbee doll in a 1962 Senior Roundup outfit, Barbies in adult uniforms made from patterns sold through the catalog in the late 1990s, and paper dolls from the early 1950s with “real” hair.Image

For quick backgrounds, we used fabrics from the Robert Kaufman Girl Scout collections of 2009–2010.  Image

For President Obama’s Inauguration on January 20, we will change our display to focus on the First Ladies and their role in Girl Scouting.

Please stop by GSCNC and see what’s new from the archives!