Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum


 Girl Scouts Serve In World War I

When the USA entered World War I, Girl Scouting was still a new organization. The Girl Scouts were eager to do their part in the service to the war effort. A special pledge was created by the US Food Administration and the National Girl Scouts organization, where Girl Scouts pledged to go without candy two days a week, and go wheat-less one meal a day. Shown below are some newspaper articles and photos from the time.

 "Do Your Best - Not Your Bit" was the slogan of the times.


Girl Scouts Called to War Garden Work
 By Helen Margaret Tew
(Girl Scouts of Washington D.C. Who Won a National Certificate of Merit for the Best Canned Vegetables Grown in Her Own Garden Near the White House)

Girl Scouts of the country have a fine opportunity to aid their country by planting war gardens this Spring.

You can do no greater service to your country than to help produce food and then follow by helping to save it. I have never enjoyed anything quite so much as the work in food conservation, but of course we much produce food before we can preserve it.

Every Girl Scout in the country should write to me in care of the National War Garden Commission, Washington, and ask for a good garden primer. Then you should organize the troop for a garden planning campaign or join some community campaign in body. Our soldiers must have food so let each of us be a Soldier of the Soil and help win the war.

Library of Congress image of Girl Scouts working in their war garden.
 Look close at the standing Girl Scout.
The medal on her pocket looks like the Silver Medal of Merit
shown on the Awards page.

Library of Congress image of Girl Scouts selling Liberty Loan War Bonds. 

Girl Scouts Make Trench Candles For Soldiers

The men in camp find trench candles convenient when they want to warm up a cup of coffee or a bowl of soup, or when they wish to read in an unlighted portion of camp or field.

The "Brownie" members of the Girl Scouts of Washington spend a portion of their time each week in making these trench candles, which are handed to the Red Cross for distribution.

Trench candles are made by cutting out eight full length column strips from a newspaper. The first strip is rolled as tightly as possible, then the other six strips are rolled carefully around this foundation, one by one, until a compact cylinder is formed. This is tightly tied with thread, then it is boiled for half an hour in paraffin, when it is taken out and cooled.  When it has become cold it is treated to another boiling bath in the paraffin for another half hour, and when cooled for the second time it is ready for use.

Indiana Evening Gazette

Bridgeport Conn., Wednesday August 14,1918

Girl Scouts and the War
By Frederic J. Haskin
1st column:
WASHINGTON, Aug.13. Three years ago there were 3,000 Girl Scouts in the United States, today there are 100,000 girl scouts energized for war service, helping the country, not spasmodically and ineffectually, but by government departments.
At the outbreak of the war, the girls began saving tin cans and wide-mouth bottles for preserving. Girl Scouts, who had always looked upon a bread crust as a thing made to be left on the dinner plate, valiantly overcame their prejudice in response to the conservation appeal. A food conservative pledge was especially formulated for the Girl Scouts by the Food administration and the Scout Headquarters, and when nearly 100,000 girls cheerfully started eliminating candy two days a week and wheat products one meal each day, the Food administration considered that that made
2nd column:
city, which sold 711 (744?) bonds totaling $385,150 (?).
“Service Always”
The fundamental principle of the Girl Scout organization is service, and as in the army, service is rendered through team work. Each troop, led by a captain with one or more lieutenants, is taught (?) of work which make the girl more useful in home and community life. Among other things, a Girl Scout learns housekeeping, home nursing, sewing, signaling, cooking and gardening. Camping and woodcraft are specialties of the organization. A Scout can read a compass or map, build and put out a fire, and treat a cut finger according to first aide rules.
The real significance of the Girl Scout movement is not the material aid it renders to the country, but the unobtrusive way in which girls are taught the practical side of service and patriotism. A good deal (?) about “the future gen(eration” ?)….

Transcription by Merana (Thank you SO MUCH!)