The Brownie Elf  

You may remember an earlier blog, written by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Historian Christine Caragher, about the ceremonies a Brownie participates in to become part of Girl Scouts.  

As troops are now forming for the new Girl Scout year, we’d like to further examine the history of becoming a Girl Scout Brownie and how the Brownie “elf” still lives on today.  

The Brownie program was inspired by the children’s book The Brownies, by Julia Horatia Ewing. In the book, Brownies were compared to fairies or elves (who were to help others by doing a “good turn”), and their uniforms often sported an elf in one way or another. It was only fitting that the first Girl Scout Brownie uniforms also had elf-like features.  One of their earliest hats was a peaked cap like an elf might wear, and their first uniforms had an elf patch stitched onto them.

In 1921, Brownie Girl Scouts were given a membership pin to wear on their uniform, which was in the shape of an elf. Eventually, the elf was placed inside a trefoil shape, which has been the Brownie membership pin ever since. 

The felt beanie, which is easily recognized as belonging to a Brownie Girl Scout, was introduced in 1941. Over the years, the color of the elf and the beanie changed to match the other accessories for the Brownie uniform, but the image of an elf remained. The elf was also found on a dress pocket, anklet cuff, uniform tie, blouse sleeve, and a belt purse. Even the official uniform buttons had an elf stamped onto them. In 1996, a baseball-style cap with the Brownie elf on it was introduced. Camp uniforms also had the Brownie trefoil printed, embroidered, or stamped.  

When everyone in your troop is wearing the same apparel or uniform, it makes you feel special. You are not only part of a group, but a sisterhood, too!  

 Stop by any of our Girl Scout shops, or look online to see what Brownie Girl Scouts wear today!  

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