Monday, October 30, 2006

October 31: Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927)

Who's the most famous deaf woman born in the 19th-century US South? Hm, probably Helen Keller (1880-1968). But if you've ever been a Girl Scout, the second-most famous would surely be Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927, shown at right), founder of the Girl Scouts of America. Every little Brownie learns the tale: Juliette "Daisy" Gordon was deaf in one ear from chronic and mistreated ear infections in her youth; the day of her wedding, they say, a thrown grain of rice lodged in her ear, subsequently causing further hearing loss. The story further goes that whenever Juliette Low wasn't getting her way in a meeting, she would pretend to hear "yes" for "no," and say, "Oh good, that settles it, then," taking advantage of her opponent's unwillingness to correct a grey-haired deaf lady (in a formidable uniform--she wore the uniform a lot, and was buried in it after her death from breast cancer at age 66).

Perhaps in connection with Low's disability, the Girl Scouts were open to disabled girls from long before community inclusion or age-appropriate activities were generally embraced goals. The first separate troop for girls with physical disabilities was formed in April 1917, in New York City. There are photos of girls in hospital polio wards in the 1940s, organized into troops by their nurses; and a 1945 pamphlet published by the Girl Scouts of America, titled Girl Scouts All: Leader's Guide to Working with the Handicapped, described "the many opportunities and advantages of membership in the Girl Scouts for handicapped girls," and provides program ideas for girls "handicapped by blindness, crippling conditions, heart disease, tuberculosis, deafness, and diabetes." And this historical legacy is not just for the kids: leaders with disabilities have also been welcome for decades (for example, Priscilla Ferris in the 1950s).

It's not all rosy: Some separate troops remain, and there have been lawsuits charging discrimination under the ADA, and scouting is still notorious for perpetuating "disability simulation" awareness activities of dubious utility. But today, the Girl Scouts will celebrate their founder's birthday, and another cohort of girls will learn about a strong deaf woman--and that's worth a little cheer.

For further reading from the past:

Ely Maxwell, "Nurses and Girl Scouts Help Each Other,"
The American Journal of Nursing 49(10)(October 1949): 648-649.

"Disabled Girls can be Girl Scouts,"
Exceptional Parent (February/March 1972): 1, 5, 19-21.

[The image above left is from my own albums. I'm in there, at Girl Scout daycamp, at Camp Laurel in northeastern Pennsylvania, in the mid-1970s. --PLR]


Anonymous said...

You should submit this post (and other deaf-related posts) to

Anonymous said...

For Marika’s case, GAUSA should have provided for reasonable accommodation for Marika’s disabilities. I don’t understand why GAUSA earned lots of profits from the Girl Scout Cookies. Are the GAUSA are mean selfish bitches?

Anonymous said...

welcome to the wow gold, cheap WoW Power Leveling, service site,wotlk gold buy cheap wow gold,wow gold,world of warcraft power leveling buy wow gold

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. Thank you. They are really great . Ermunterung ++ .
Some new style Puma Speed is in fashion this year.
chaussure puma is Puma shoes in french . Many Franzose like seach “chaussure sport” by the internet when they need buy the Puma Shoes Or nike max shoes. The information age is really convenient .

By the way ,the nike max ltd is really good NIKE air shoes ,don’t forget buy the puma mens shoes and nike air max ltd by the internet when you need them . Do you know Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes . another kinds of Nike shoes is better . For example , Nike Air Rift is good and Cheap Nike Shoes .the nike shox shoes is fitting to running.

Spring is coming, Do you think this season is not for Ugg Boots? maybe yes .but this season is best time that can buy the cheap ugg boots. Many sellers are selling discounted. Do not miss . Please view my fc2 blog and hair straighteners blog.
.thank you .

I like orange converse shoes ,I like to buy the cheap converse shoes by the internet shop . the puma shoes and the adidas shoes (or addidas shoes) are more on internet shop .i can buy the cheap nike shoes and cheap puma shoes online. It’s really convenient.
Many persons more like Puma basket shoes than nike air rift shoes . the Puma Cat shoes is a kind of Cheap Puma Shoes .
If you want to buy the Cheap Nike Air shoes ,you can buy them online. They are same as the Nike Air shoes authorized shop. Very high-caliber Air shoes and puma cat shoes . the cheap puma shoes as same as other.

polo shirts

ralph lauren polo shirts
chaussure puma

chaussure sport

chaussures puma

puma CAT

ed hardy clothing

ed hardy clothes

ed hardy womens

ed hardy sunglasses

ugg boots

cheap ugg boots

Anonymous said...

We always Wow Power Leveling and world of warcraft gold