Daisy was said to be the prettiest girl in Savannah, Georgia. Daisy was a nickname. Her formal one was Juliette Gordon Low. Daisy/Juliette died in 1927 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. If her name is familiar to you, you probably know why. If it’s not, you’ll understand in a few minutes.
Daisy’s Regency-style home is one of the more interesting properties you can tour in Savannah. If you don’t like historic houses, you probably won’t get much out of your visit to this city. Completed in 1821 for a politician and once marked for demolition, the house is now in excellent condition because a major renovation was complete just 3 months ago. It’s dark, traditional, and middle class. What makes it fascinating is Daisy.
The brochure handed out calls her talented. Her artistic talent can clearly be seen in the library where a number of her sculptures are on display, but her art can only be seen in her house and is not what made her famous. There is a portrait of her in the library that shows how truly beautiful she was. It’s a replica. The original hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
The same brochure calls her quirky. Daisy doted on pets. She trained mockingbirds to ride on her shoulder. She married a man named William whom our tour guide described as a spoiled brat. She also told us that Daisy’s mother had poor mothering skills. During the Civil War she left Daisy, who was born in 1860, and followed her husband to battlefields in case he was injured and needed her. Her marriage lasted 55 years.
Daisy wasn’t so lucky in love. She met William in Europe during her society debut. His parents opposed their marriage. The wedding and honeymoon were both disasters. At the wedding a grain of rice thrown for good luck lodged in Daisy’s ear. Despite nitrate treatments, the resulting infection resulted in a punctured ear drum and permanent hearing loss. The honeymoon was cut short. Eventual separation led to divorce, but William died of a stroke or a social disease before it occurred. He left his estate in Scotland to his mistress, but Daisy got their U.S. property. After traveling with writer Rudyard Kipling and his wife, Daisy had a romance with Robert Baden-Powell. When Robert proposed marriage, she declined, perhaps because she was 50 and had a really good memory.
In 1912 Juliette Gordon Low did something that gave her national stature. She founded the Girl Scouts, affecting the lives of 59,000,000 girls over time. She involved First Ladies in her venture, loved outdoor activities, created heretofore unavailable career opportunities for females, etc. She retired in 1920 and died 7 years later from breast cancer. President Obama awarded Daisy the Medal of Freedom on the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scout’s founding during “The Year of the Girl”. It’s on display in the parlor.