1925 Excerpt From Girl Scout Handbook


The Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts of 1925 is now in the Public Domain. I was reading through it (yes, for fun) and thought I’d share this portion with you. Let me know what you think of this excerpt.

In 1832 there was born a little New England girl who would very early in life have become a First Class Scout if she had had the opportunity. Her name was Louisa Alcott, and she made that name famous all the world over by the book by which the world’s girls know her-”Little Women.”

Her father, though a brilliant man, was a very impractical one, and from her first little story to her last popular book, all her work was done for the purpose of keeping her mother and sisters, in comfort.

While she was waiting for the money from her stories she turned carpets, trimmed hats, papered the rooms, made party dresses for her sisters, nursed anyone who was sick (at which she was particularly good) – all the homely, helpful things that neighbors and families did for each other in New England towns.

In those days little mothers of families could not telephone specialists to help them out in emergencies; there were neither telephones nor specialists! But there were always emergencies, and the Alcott girls had to know what to put on a black-and-blue spot, and why the jelly failed to “jell,” and how to hang a skirt, and bake a cake, and iron a table-cloth. Louisa had to entertain family guests and darn the family stockings.

Imagine what her feelings would have been if someone had told her that she had earned half a dozen merit badges by her knowledge of home economics and her clever writing!

And let every Scout who finds housework dull, and feels that she is capable of bigger things, remember this: the woman whose books for girls are more widely known than any such books ever written in America, had to drop the pen, often and often, for the needle, the dish-cloth and the broom.

To direct her household has always been a woman’s job in every century. To be sure, they had no such jolly way of working at it together, as the Scouts have, nor did they have the opportunity the girl of today has to learn all about these things in a scientific, business-like way, in order to get it all done with the quickest, most efficient methods, just as any clever business man manages his business.

We no longer believe that housekeeping should take up all a woman’s time; and many an older woman envies the little badges on a Scout’s sleeve that show the world she has learned how to manage her cleaning and cooking and household routine so that she has plenty of time to spend on other things that interest her.

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