Girl Scouts Handbook: The Original 1913 Edition

Girl Scouts Handbook: The Original 1913 Edition

by W. J. Hoxie

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Learn skills that will last a lifetime—just like girls did over a century ago!
The Girl Scouts of America has evolved over the last hundred years from the original group of eighteen into an organization with over one million members nationwide.
First published in 1913, Girl Scouts Handbook is the original reference for girl scouts. This blast-from-the-past practical guide has been the foundation for the organization over the past century, helping young girls to learn the basics of scouting and teaching them useful skills such as:
  • Self-Defense
  • Woodcraft
  • Botany
  • Astronomy
  • Gardening
  • Sanitation
  • Girl Scout Law
  • Self-Discipline
  • Self-Improvement
  • And more!
Rediscover this time-honored classic, featuring color photos and diagrams for the first time, and marvel at what has changed—and what hasn’t—over a hundred-plus years of history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631583537
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 63,271
File size: 18 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 6 - 10 Years

About the Author

W. J. Hoxie was born in Rochester, New York, in 1848. In 1912, he became instrumental in the organization of the Girl Scouts with founder Juliette Low. Throughout his career, he served as a teacher, a surveyor, the proprietor of a taxidermy shop, a writer, and much more. He died in 1934 in Saint Petersburg, Florida, at age eighty-six.

Read an Excerpt



Part I


IT is not intended that Girl Scouts should form a new club, separated from all others, but that girls who belong to any kind of existing organization, such as school clubs, factories, social or charitable clubs, Y. W. C. A's., can also take up, in addition to their other work or play, the Girl Scouts' training and games, especially on Saturdays and Sundays.

By meeting on Sundays it is not meant that girls should play or work, but that they should take walks where they can carry out Nature study of plants and animals, that is, of God's work in nature, and to do good turns.

Where girls do not already belong to any clubs, they can form themselves into groups and bands, and these are called Girl Scouts.

How to Start a Patrol

Eight girls in any town, school, or settlement join together to form a Patrol. They should have a Captain who must be at least twenty-one years old. She selects a Lieutenant, or second in command, and the girls elect one of themselves as Patrol leader. The girls are usually from ten to seventeen years of age. It is best if all the girls in each Patrol are about the same age.

Notes to Instructors

(Any paragraph printed in italics in this book is addressed to Instructors.)

If your Scouts are to enjoy their training you must enjoy it too. Keep on a smile but never let it be a smile of contempt. Have sympathy with failure not censure. "Hate nothing but sin."

Illustrate and explain before attempting to drill and do not drill too long. Practice makes perfect but not exhaustion. Games should be selected carefully. Reject all that carry a sting with them, as too many games are apt to do. Being "it" should be a reward and a privilegenever a punishment or rebuke for poor work or failure.

So of competitions. Take away the sting of failure as much as possible from the defeated ones.

Practices, games, and competitions being so large a part of Scouts' training, it is of course necessary to have rules that must be always obeyed on any and all occasions. This is one of the most important principles to be instilled: strict and prompt obedience to laws and orders. Consent of parents or guardian should come before enrollment of a Scout. Each girl will be a study by herself, and her talents may be improved in the best possible direction. A Captain is first and foremost a teacher. Before disbanding, a Captain should select two girls as Orderlies for different duties, such as tidying the club room and leaving everything in order.

Dismiss in good time. Captains are responsible for the members of their patrols going home. They should not be kept too late.


At their first meeting the Scouts are all enrolled and form patrols; each one should have a note-book, pencil, and a yard of cord, and they are taught the Scouts' Promise.

The Laws of the Scouts. Scouts the world over have unwritten laws which are just as binding upon them as if they were printed in black and white. Their origin is lost in the mists of ancient history.

The Japanese have their laws of the old Samurai warriors; we have the laws of the Chivalry of the days "when Knighthood was in power." Our American Indian has his Calumet and the Arab respects the guest who has eaten his salt. All have their ancient codes of moral laws.

The following are the rules which apply to Girl Scouts. After six months probation a girl can promise to try to live up to this promise.

Girl Scout's Promise

The Salute

Each girl must promise on her honor to try to do three things:

1. To do your duty to God and to your country.

2. To help other people at all times.

3. To obey the Laws of the Scouts.

They learn the salute and the secret sign of the Scouts. (For a full description of the investment of the Scouts, the tests for the three grades of Girl Scouts, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Girl Scouts, see pages 123-125.)

These laws are for the guidance of Captains and the girls are not given the Law until the Captain considers they are capable of living up to the spirit of the Law.


1. A Girl Scout's Honor Is to be Trusted If a Scout says, "on my honor it is so," that means that what she says is as true as if she had taken a most solemn oath. In fact a Scout need never take any other form of oath.

2. A Girl Scout Is Loyal

to the President, to her country, and to her officers; to her father, to her mother, and to her employers. She must stick to them through thick and thin against any one who is their enemy, or even who talks badly of them.

3. A Girl Scout's Duty Is to be Useful and to Help Others

She is to do her duty before anything else even if she gives up her own pleasure, safety, or comfort to do it. When in doubt as to which of two things to do she must think, "Which is my duty?" which means, "Which is the best for other people?" — and do that at once. She must be prepared at any time to save life or help the injured. She should do at least one good turn to somebody every day.

4. A Girl Scout Is a Friend to All, and a Sister to every Other Girl Scout no Matter to what Social Class she May Belong

Thus if a Scout meet another Scout, even though a stranger to her, she may speak to her, and help her in any way she can, either to carry out the duty she is then doing or by giving her food, or as far as possible anything she may want. Like Kim a Scout should be "Little friend to all the world."

5. A Girl Scout Is Courteous

That is, she is polite to all but especially to old people and invalids, cripples, etc. She must not take any reward for being helpful or courteous.

6. A Girl Scout Keeps herself Pure

in thought and word and deed.

7. A Girl Scout Is a Friend to Animals

She should save them as far as possible from pain and should not kill even the smallest unnecessarily. They are all God's creatures.

8. A Girl Scout Obeys Orders

Under all circumstances, when she gets an order she must obey it cheerfully and readily, not in a slow, sullen manner. Scouts never grumble, whine, or frown. In time of danger even a smile or a song will cheer and hearten up the wavering. So keep it up all the time.

9. A Girl Scout is Cheerful

under all circumstances. When she gets an order she should obey it cheerily and readily, not in a slow, hangdog sort of way, and should sing even if she dislikes it.

Scouts never grumble at hardships, nor whine at each other, nor frown when put out.

A Scout goes about with a smile and singing. It cheers her and cheers other people, especially in time of danger.

10. A Girl Scout Is Thrifty

That is, she saves every penny she can and puts it into the bank so she can have money to keep herself when out of work and thus not be a burden to others, or that she may have money to give to others more needy than herself.

There are ten Girl Scout Laws, one for each finger on a Scout's hand, and the object of these laws is to make one LOYAL, KIND, CHEERFUL, and OBEDIENT.

First Camp-Fire Story

Can we find a character in American history more inspiring as an example for girls and American women than Margaret Brent of Maryland? In the autumn of 1638 she came to the colony with her two brothers. She is described as a great beauty but always in that remote and struggling community "a woman of affairs." She studied law and was the trusted adviser of the governor and founder of the colony. It seems more than probable that she was largely instrumental in shaping the wise policy that so successfully carried Maryland through the many vicissitudes of its early history. Certain it is that the treatment of the Indians was that recommended by her as well as the Toleration Act. A Catholic herself she respected the rights of all religions and brought about harmony where others would have failed. Such was Lord Calvert's firm belief in her honesty that, on his death-bed, he simply said, "To you Margaret I leave all. Take all and pay all." Well may we be proud of our country when we find among its founders women such as she.


Bring stuff for making flags — or red and blue pencils to cut out in paper and color the flag. Show how to cut stars by folding pieces of paper five times across at the proper angles. Teach the girls the history of the flag (see page 102). Get names entered in a book for roll call and good marks. Teach them the secret passwords and salutes. At every meeting the Captain first calls the girls to "Attention" and salutes and calls over the roll, then she should proceed to ask and the girls repeat the countersign (see page 126). Practise drawing Scout signs on walls or ground with chalk or stick (to be rubbed out afterwards). Play games if out of doors; physical exercise and drill; how to make knots, slings, and ration bags.

Out-of-door Meetings

If the meeting occurs out of doors some form of Nature study may be profitably taken up. In town Scouts may see who can first locate a doctor, druggist, mail-box, or something of that sort; carefully note distance, direction, what turns are made, etc., and what objects are seen when taking a short walk; or they can play such games as "Shop-window," "Hare and Hounds," or as a competition sketch maps of town or camp grounds.


If the meeting takes place indoors they can play "Match- sticks" to make the fingers nimble; show how to use a marlin spike, and splicing; splice a fish line with a pin for a marlin spike; or practise "Jiu-Jitsu" or "Inventory Game" or rehearse a play.

Patrols should continue practice during the week at odd times or under their Captain. Final games or exercises can be held on Saturday afternoon.

Kim's Game

Place twenty or thirty small articles on a tray or table, or the floor and cover with a cloth — different kinds of buttons, pencils, corks, nuts, string, knives or other such small things. Make a list and have a column opposite for each player's name. Uncover for just one minute and then take each player by herself and check off the articles she can remember. The winner is the one who remembers the most.

Morgan's Game

Players run quickly to a certain bill-board or shop window where an umpire is posted to time them a minute for their observation. They then run back to headquarters and report all they can remember of the advertisements on bill-board or objects in shop window.

Scout Meets Scout

Patrols of Scouts are to approach each other from a distance. The first to give the signal that the other is in sight wins. In this game it is not fair to disguise but hiding the approach in any way is admissible. You can climb a tree, ride in any vehicle, or hide behind some slowly moving or stationary object. But be sure to keep in touch with the one who is to give the signal.

It is best that others should not know the Scouts' secret passwords, so one is given at a time in this book for those that can search best. You will find one in the paragraph "Reading Sign or Deduction."

Acting Charades

may be indoors or out. A very good one is for two or three players to act as if they wanted some special thing that is in sight. The first who discovers what this is then selects some other players to act with her.

Unprepared Plays

Relate the plot of some simple play, after which assign a part to each of several to act out. Let them confer for a short time and then act it. This develops many fine talents and is one of the most useful games for the memory, expression, and imagination.

A Scout always shakes hands when she loses a game and congratulates the winner.

Second Camp-Fire Story

The story of Annie Tilis shows how well a little girl was prepared when danger threatened both herself and her father. In the Florida war with the Seminole Indians, Annie lived with her father not far from Fort Drum. As it was possible to call to the fort at any time for assistance Mr. Tilis stayed on his place to take care of his cattle. Annie used to get up in the morning and milk the cows. When she was through she would call her father and he would come and help pen up the calves so that the cows would be sure to come back at night. One morning while Annie was milking, she saw some Indians hiding close to the fence where her father would have to pass coming out of the house, and she knew that if she called out to him they would kill her at once. One of the calves that had smelt the Indians ran out into the bushes. So Annie quietly set her milk pail down, selecting a safe place for it as if she were coming back to finish milking and went after the calf, passing very near the Indian who was nearest the house but without turning her head at all, and as soon as the bush hid her from their view she slipped into the house and her father blew his horn for the soldiers. If she had made the least outcry or even ran with the milk pail in her hand the Indians would have killed both her and her father and probably surprised the garrison at the fort. Annie and one of the Indians have both told me this story. They are very old people now.

People that live in cities are often exposed to dangers, too, that make it necessary to be prepared. My little friend Jane Marshall saw a burglar when she came home before her mother. He was just stepping into the pantry, so she went right by him and out by the back door, which he had left open, calling her kitten in a perfectly natural manner. As soon as she was out of the house she ran to the neighbors who telephoned the police and the burglar was caught before her mother got home.

Read in history the story of Nancy Hart and her little daughter. Though but a child her habit of prompt obedience of orders saved them both from a most horrible fate. Their house was captured by the Tories who felt so secure in finding only a defenceless woman and a little girl that they proceeded to make merry, ordering Nancy to cook them a dinner. While she was doing this they amused themselves by telling her and the child what they were going to do to them after dinner. Watching her chance Nancy seized one of their guns and called to her daughter to get another. The child at once did so and when Nancy had shot one of the Tories she found the second musket passed into her hand so promptly that it was impossible for the surviving enemies to "rush" her while unarmed.

These stories show you that self-control is very necessary in being prepared in time of danger. Some people will in such cases "lose their heads," as the saying is. A Scout's training is of much benefit in all such cases. Prompt obedience is also very important in the face of danger.

"In time of peace prepare for war." Happily we now are at peace, but if a war should come and find us unprepared it would be disastrous. So the Scouts should learn as far as possible how to nurse and care for the wounded, for that will be their main share in any war that may come.


You will see from the general contents of this book that we work in the desired details of character building through the following subjects, which are attractive to girls.

Be Womanly

No one wants women to be soldiers. None of us like women who ape men.

An imitation diamond is not as good as a real diamond. An imitation fur coat is not as good as real fur. Girls will do no good by trying to imitate boys. You will only be a poor imitation. It is better to be a real girl such as no boy can possibly be. Everybody loves a girl who is sweet and tender and who can gently soothe those who are weary or in pain. Some girls like to do scouting, but scouting for girls is not the same kind of scouting as for boys. The chief difference is in the courses of instruction. For the boys it teaches MANLINESS, but for the girls it all tends to WOMANLINESS and enables girls the better to help in the great battle of life.

Girls need not wait for war to break out to show what heroines they can be. We have many every-day heroines whose example might be followed with advantage, and we daily hear of brave girls whose pluck we admire.

Be Strong

To carry out all the duties and work of a Scout properly a girl must be strong and healthy. It may take a little time and care to make yourself so. It means a lot of exercise, running, walking, jumping, and playing games. Sleep with your windows open summer and winter and you will never catch cold. Too soft a bed tends to make people dream which is unhealthy and weakening. Don't lay abed in the morning thinking how awful it is to have to get up. Rouse out at once and take a smart turn of some quick exercise. Have a daily bath if you can. Or at least take a good rub down with a wet towel. Learn to breathe through your nose. Breathing through the mouth makes you thirsty. And so does chewing gum.


Excerpted from "Girl Scouts Handbook"
by .
Copyright © 2019 W. Hoxie.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part I. Summary.,
How to Start a Patrol,
First Meeting,
Girl-Scout Law,
Second Meeting,
Part II. Camping.,
Open-Air Pursuits,
Part III. Home Life.,
Care of Children,
Part IV. Hospital Work.,
Tending the Injured,
Be Prepared for Accidents,
Part V. Patriotism.,
Part VI. Organization.,
Qualifications for Three Ranks of Scouts,
Ceremony of Investiture,
Tests for Proficiency Badges,
Notes to Instructors,

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