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MC 263

Massachusetts Girl Scouts. Records, 1915-1967: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America


The collection was processed with funds provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Radcliffe College
March 1978

© 1978 Radcliffe College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 263
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Massachusetts Girl Scouts
Title: Records, 1915-1967
Quantity: 5+1/2 file boxes, 14 photograph folders, 1 oversize folder, electronic records
Abstract: Minutes, reports, photographs, etc., of Massachusetts Girl Scouts, which provided leadership training, camping, health education, and volunteer work for young girls.

Processing Information:

Processed: March 1978
By: Katherine Gray Kraft

Acquisition Information:

Accession numbers: 75-107, 75-109
The records of the Massachusetts Girl Scouts were given to the Schlesinger Library in April 1975 by the MGS.

Preferred citation for publication:

Massachusetts Girl Scouts Records, 1915-1967; item description, dates. MC 263, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


The American Girl Scout program, an adaptation of Sir Robert Baden-Powell's English Scouting and Guiding movement, was founded in Savannah, Georgia in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low. In 1915 the program was incorporated and established their headquarters in Washington, D.C. The following year the headquarters were moved to New York City. "Local councils" were formed in Massachusetts in 1916, and by 1917 almost 800 Massachusetts girls belonged to troops in Boston, Brookline, New Bedford, Salem, Springfield, and other cities. The local councils soon joined together as a State Council to set standards for activities and uniforms. This Massachusetts Council, chartered under a new constitution and incorporated in Massachusetts in 1919, helped establish standards and regulations later adopted by the National headquarters. Women representing the Massachusetts Girl Scouts (MGS) served on the National Board from its inception, and helped set the course for scouting nationwide. Among the pioneering efforts of the MGS were the organization in 1916 of the first "Junior Scouts" (later named "Brownies") in Marblehead, and the First National Training School for Girl Scout Leaders, held at the Winsor School in Brookline in the summer of 1917.
In 1919 the Massachusetts organization was divided into the Eastern, Western, and Metropolitan (Boston) Divisions. Activities included leadership training, camping, health education, and volunteer work. Organizers and early leaders of the Massachusetts scouting movement included Sarah Louise Arnold, Augusta Batchelder Hartt, and Helen Osborne Storrow. In addition to her active involvement in Scout programs, Storrow donated "Our Chalet" in Switzerland as an international gathering place for Girl Scouts and Guides. Histories of the MGS can be found in folder 119 and in oversize folder.


This collection contains minutes, reports, and other records of the State Camp Committee (1921-1949); Camping Department (1923-1941); Metropolitan, Eastern, and Western Divisions (1926-1936); Eastern Division Field Committee (1926-1935); and Local Directors' Association (1926-1934). There are also reports, biographical information, correspondence, and other papers of Sarah Louise Arnold, Augusta B. Hartt, Helen Storrow, and various other MGS leaders, including Anne Hyde Choate, Mrs. Carl Dennett, and Gertrude Allisder Perkins. In addition, there are many letters from and articles about Lou Henry Hoover, National Girl Scout President from 1922 to 1925 and from 1935 to 1937. Also, there are many photographs of Sarah Arnold, Augusta Hartt, Helen Storrow, and other leaders and Scouts. There are few records prior to 1921. The Massachusetts Girl Scouts' web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid in 2010.



Additional catalog entries

Arnold, Sarah Louise, 1859-1943
Baden-Powell, Lady Olave (Soames)
Choate, Anne (Hyde), 1886-
Girl Scouts of the United States of America
Hartt, Augusta (Batchelder), 1872-
Hoover, Lou (Henry), 1874-1944
Storrow, Helen (Osborne), 1864-1944
Electronic records
Girls--Societies and clubs
Outdoor life
Scouts and scouting
Web sites



The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Organization File: