All over the world, Girl Scouts will be celebrating Juliette Gordon Low’s 150th birthday this weekend.  Here’s a little glimpse into one memorable birthday:  her thirtieth.

On that and every other birthday, Daisy longed to be with her two best friends, Abby and Mary. Alas, she was in England and they were in the United States. Daisy was especially sad that she couldn’t be with Abby, with whom she shared the same birthday–31 October. The two had plotted and planned to spend their birthday together every year since they met as girls in boarding school.

In 1890, the year she turned thirty, Daisy’s husband, Willy Low, knew she was missing her old friends. To “make up for [their] absence,” he took her down to London from their home in the Midlands, to treat her to dinner and a play.  Daisy loved the theater, and so she probably had a grand evening. However, Willy also presented her with a memorable gift. She described it in a letter to Mary:

“The present consisted of a diamond pin, in the shape of a peacock’s feather which he says is most appropriate as I am the most conceited person he knows.”

Whether that was serious or joking, I don’t know. The Lows had been married only since December 1886, and while theirs was not a perfect pairing, there was evidence of tenderness between them. (For the record, I think Willy was every bit as conceited as he judged his wife to be.)

Daisy drew a picture of the brooch and explained that it was made of one sapphire and many diamonds. It was 3 1/4 inches long and the diamonds were all “centre set so that each strand of the feather is pliable and moves like a snake.”

Peacocks would have lived on the grounds of the great houses she visited regularly in her new life as the wife of an extremely wealthy Englishman. Daisy took delight in all animals, and as an artist, it is easy to believe she was drawn to the extraordinary colors of the the gorgeous peacock.

Her family in Georgia sent her “trifles just to show they had not forgotten” her. “The day,” Daisy proclaimed, “was a very happy one.”

Happy 150th birthday, Juliette Low!

Cite:  Juliette Gordon Low to Mary Gale Clarke, 4 November [1890], Clarke Family Papers, Cornell University Special Collections, MS2800/22/5.  Photo: