Girl Scout Cookies: A brief history

savannah-smiles.jpgWe know what you're thinking about right this very moment. Girl Scout Cookies. Come on. Fess up. We're thinking about them too. Thin Mints, Samoas ... we're having trouble keeping ourselves from running right out to buy some. But how much do you actually know about these little cakes of happiness that have been around since 1917? Here is a brief history of the Girl Scout Cookie.

Girl Scout Cookies began their delicious journey almost a century ago. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouting in the United States, according to the official Girl Scout website.They started in the kitchens of the scouts with mothers helping with recipes. The earliest mention of a cookie sale was that of the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, which baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria in December 1917.

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In July 1922, "The American Girl" magazine, published by Girl Scout national headquarters, featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. She passed on a cookie recipe to around 2,000 girl scouts.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen.

In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council sold cookies in the city's gas and electric company windows. By 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began the process to license the first commercial baker to produce the delicious goodies for girls to sell.

cookiehistory_1930s_04.jpgDuring WWII, sugar, flour, and butter shortages led Girl Scouts to stop selling cookies for a while and switch over to calendars for a time.  selling Girl Scout calendars to raise money for their activities. By 1948, a total of 29 bakers throughout the nation were licensed to bake Girl Scout Cookies.

cookiehistory_1940s_03.jpgIn 1951, Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints). This decade saw the advent of girls selling cookies at tables in malls. It's currently the reason we haunt stores like Target at this time of year.

Baby boomers flooded the scouts with members and by1960, Girl Scout Cookie were appearing in boxes in printed aluminum foil or cellophane. By 1966, the best selling flavors were Chocolate Mint, Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.

cookiehistory_1960s_07.jpgBy 1978, Girl Scout Cookies began appearing in a standard cookie package layout. For the first time, Girl Scout Cookies had the same logo and pictures of Girl Scouts camping, canoeing and doing other activities. In 1979, they got an updated logo. In 1982, there were a maximum of seven varieties of cookies--three mandatory (Thin Mint, Sandwich, and Shortbread) and four optional ones. In the early 1990's, the cookie selection included low fat and sugar-free selections.

cookiehistory_1970s_03.jpgThere are now eight varieties of Girl Scout Cookies and each one is kosher. Recently, Savannah Smiles, the newest flavor of Girl Scout Cookies was introduced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the organization. We hope you've enjoyed our trip through Girl Scout Cookie history. You may now drive to the nearest Girl Scout in your neighbor and beg her for cookies.

Photo/Video credit: GirlScouts.org