There is irritatingly little evidence for the Girl Scout Troop Update 9/23/2016: While there is a little evidence, I finally found something concrete in the Pittsburgh newspapers from 1920! Update 11/20/2016: Found a bit more evidence in the Homestead paper from 1919… which contradicts the previous set of discoveries.
- 10/8/1919: “A Girl Scout Troop has been organized in the Homestead and Munhall district. This troop is designated as Troop 7 and consists of Jewish girls above the age of 12 years…”
- 11/28/1919: “…Most of the girl scouts have volunteered to help with the bazaar which will be held in the Synagogue December 7…”
- In December 1919 The Jewish Criterion mentioned the group a couple times in connection with a YWHA event. The “Homestead Jewish Girl Scouts and Boys Scouts are enthusiastically working for the bazaar” of the Homestead Y.W.H.A. As the “aides of the Y.W.HA. for the bazaar [they] are doing valiant service.” “The chairlady, Miss Regina Haupt, representing the organization, wishes to thank…Troop 2, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, who proved themselves valiant workers.”
- Eureka! In the 9/20/1920 Pittsburgh Daily Post:
Many new leaders entered the Girl Scout ranks during the past week, those applying for commissions are Girl Scout captains were…Miss Regina Haupt, Homestead. Commissioned as Girl Scout lieutenants were…Miss Ruth Grinberg, Miss Esther Margolis, Miss Elizabeth Hepps, Miss Rose Glick, Miss Jean Belle Friedlander.
Two new troops have been registered–Troop 4, Homestead, Miss Regina Haupt, captain, and the following scouts: Elsie Rosenbaum, Lillian Adlosberg (sic), Mildred Fogel, Dorothy Averbach, Florence Miller, Lillian Fogel, Rose Seldis, Dortohy Miller, Lena Mehalowitz, Francies Friedlander, Sadie Lefkowitz, Anna Fogel, Blanche Lefkowitz, Esther Schwartz, Sarah Markowitz, Sadie Freed, Mollie Mervis, Bella Freed, Sadie Hepps, Sarah Jacobson, Anna Rosenthal, Sarah Freeman, Elsie Hepps, Selma Goldston, Celia Saron, Ruth Moss, Helen Schermer.
I’m not sure how this squares with there having been a “Jewish Girl Scouts” group prior to this. Perhaps Regina Haupt liked the group so much she wanted to formalize their integration with the main scouting movement?
There are a couple more mentions from this summer. The 8/15/1920 Pittsburgh Gazette Times has, “New Scouts and leaders registered at headquarters during the past week are…Troop 4, Homestead, Ida Friedlander.” And the 8/21/1920 Pittsburgh Press updates, “Troop 4, Homestead, under the command of Miss Regina Haupt, captain, sold lemonade and refreshments Wednesday for the benefit of a milk and ice fund.”
- 1/14/1923, Pittsburgh Daily Post: “As the Allegheny county girl scout organization starts the new year, it is interesting to note the scope of the work and the personnel behind it. The following is a partial list of the active troops and their leaders…Troop 4, Homestead–Miss Regina Lebowitz, captain.” (I wonder if this is a typo; I don’t believe there was a Regina Lebowitz in Homestead. Regina Haupt married in July 1928 and thereafter lived in NYC.)
- While Homestead Troop 4 next appears in the Pittsburgh newspapers a bunch in the 1925-1930 timeframe, not only do none of the names mentioned in connection with the troop match names of people in Homestead’s Jewish community, but also none of the names even sound Jewish. In 1930 the troop attended a church service?! Something must’ve shifted here…
- The minutes for the 4/3/1932 board meeting reported that, “YM+YWHA will take over the troop 2 committee work,” which suggests to me that there must have been girls involved for the older girls to be needed.1
- April 29, 1932: Also reported in the Criterion, in conjunction with the Mother’s Day celebration of the Y.M. and W.H.A. of Homestead, “a tribute to mothers will be offered by Boy and Girl Scouts.”
- January 27, 1933: The only Girl Scout event publicized in the Pittsburgh Jewish Criterion on its own:
THE JEWISH GIRL SCOUT TROOP OF HOMESTEAD
The Jewish Girl Scout Troop of Homestead, under the supervision of Miss Ida Friedlander and Miss Rhoda Gross, held a joint party with the Jewish Boy Scout Troop and spent a very enjoyable evening.
At the regular meeting of the Girl Scouts held Monday night, plans were made for a joint hike with the Boy Scouts to Frick Woods on Sunday, January 29 at 1:30.
Many of the oral histories mention the Boy Scouts, but only Daniel Schwartz (1906-1999) mentioned the Girl scouts. He said, “When I was a boy we all had boy scout troops. In our shul we had seventy-five boys in a boy scout troop, and seventy-five girls in a girl scout troop. And, of course, there were about fifteen troops in the Homestead area.”
I don’t know if this means that there was a troop continuously throughout this period that did little to promote itself, or if it came in and out of existence based on the interests of the girls? It’s difficult to avoid making comparison to the many more references, memories, and pictures of the boy scout troop. The boy scouts were often mentioned in congregational board meetings, but the girl scouts never were.
Meeting Minutes 1930-1940, p. 58 ↩