Paying Tribute: Dr. Elinor Crawford

by Sue Stewart, CEO, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

We are saddened to share that our friend and champion, Dr. Elinor Crawford, died on Saturday, August 27 following a brief illness.


We remember her for so many reasons. She was a friend, advocate for all women and girls, creator of the Sanibel Shelling program with Betty Ethal, board member, committee member and so much more. In 1987 she was a member of the Girl Scout Scholarship Committee which was subsequently renamed The Dr. Elinor Crawford Girl Scout College Scholarship Fund, in her honor. She served on the committee up through this past year and was proud to read each application and girl story. She saved all the thank you letters written by the girls and savored their accomplishments.

Elinor was a community leader and a founding member of numerous local organizations such as The Women’s Resource Center, UN Women, and American Association of University Women, to name a few. She and Betty enjoyed their civic engagement, friends from throughout the country, and travel.

2014 Scholarship

As a professor of physical education at the University of Northern Iowa for thirty years, she served as a member of the committee that contributed to the writing and passage of Title IX, the most significant piece of federal legislation impacting girls and women in education. As one of her friends shared, “I hope Elinor watched the Olympics. If not for her work, we would not have seen the incredible successes of the girls and women in Rio, and their significant awards resulting in Gold.”

Dr. Elinor Crawford was a woman of courage, confidence, and character, who changed the world. She leaves behind her dear friend Susan Chapman, a niece, many friends throughout the country, and thousands of Girl Scout sisters — women and girls — past, present and future. A service and celebration of life will be held at the Girl Scout Event and Conference Center. Arrangements are pending.

A Quick History of Girl Scout Cookies

Thin Mints, Tag-a-longs, and Trefoils – oh my! Next year, the Girl Scout Cookie legacy will turn 100 years old. You know how yummy the cookies are, and that Girl Scout troops use their cookie sale proceeds to help fund their many community service projects and other activities. But how did it all get started?

In 1917, only five years after Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts in the United States, the Mistletoe Troop of Muskogee, Oklahoma sold home-baked cookies in their high school cafeteria. As it is today, the girls used their earnings to pay for their troop programs.

In July 1922, Girl Scouts of the USA’s The American Girl magazine featured a cookie recipe from the Chicago, Illinois council. Throughout the 1920s, Girl Scouts across the country baked simple sugar cookies, packaged them in waxed paper, and sold them door to door at prices unheard of today: often 25-35 cents per dozen!


Commercially baked Girl Scout Cookies were first sold in 1934 by the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council.  A year later, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York took things a step further with commercially baked cookies made using a die in the shape of a trefoil.  In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began licensing commercial bakers to produce cookies for sale nationwide.

With the sugar, butter, and flour shortages of World War II, the Girl Scout Cookie program was put on hold. Beginning in 1944, Girl Scout calendars were produced and sold as an alternative fundraiser. Girl Scout Cookie sales enjoyed a healthy increase following the war, and the beloved tradition was back in full swing.

53-Intermediate Scouts Cookies 1950's

Gulfcoast Girl Scouts gear up for cookie sales, 1950s.

A number of cookie variations have been offered over the years, including sandwich, shortbread, and chocolate mint varieties. Today, new varieties cater to consumers looking for healthier alternatives or gluten-free options.

Perhaps the greatest advance in the sale of Girl Scout Cookies came in 2015, with the online Digital Cookie platform, helping girls build 21st-century business skills.  One thing has remained the same, though. Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls gain confidence and take great pride in their success, all while earning funds and helping make their communities a better place – one cookie at a time.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

cookie meme