Girl Scout cookies trace nearly a century of history

National Girl Scout Cookie Day is Feb. 8
January 31, 2013

In 1917, the world was in turmoil. The United States entered World War I, Russia was home to a revolution, and American women fought for their right to vote. But that same year, the Girl Scout cookie was created.

Girl Scout cookies today account for millions in annual revenue for the Girl Scouts of the USA. The earliest mention of a cookie sale found to date was that of the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Okla., which baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project in December 1917.

In 1934, Girl Scout Cookies went commercial when Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council became the first council to sell commercially baked cookies in the city's gas and electric company windows. By 1937, more than 125 councils nationwide held cookie sales, with the trefoil-shaped Shortbread as the first official Girl Scout cookie.

Despite flour, butter and sugar shortages caused by World War II, the Girl Scout Cookie program prevailed, and in 1951, two other Girl Scout Cookies were introduced - cream-filled Sandwiches and Chocolate Mints (now called Thin Mints).

The 1960s led to an explosion in Girl Scout membership and the public’s craving for Girl Scout cookies. By the 1970s, the number of Girl Scout Cookie bakeries was streamlined to four to ensure lower prices and uniform quality, branding, packaging and distribution.

The 1980s and 1990s brought the Samoa (Caramel Delight) and peanut butter cookies. By this time, Girl Scout cookies had truly become a household name with superior brand recognition, perfected recipes and fun, colorful boxes.

In 2013, Girl Scouts of the USA launched the first new cookie box in 13 years. All boxes of Girl Scout cookies have a new look and a new purpose: to elevate the significance of the Girl Scout Cookie program, a $790-million girl-led business. The decision to update the package came about in 2010 as part of an overall brand refresh in advance of the organization’s 100th anniversary on March 12.

In 2013, the Girl Scouts will celebrate National Girl Scout Cookie Day for the first time on Friday, Feb. 8. National Girl Scout Cookie Day was established to honor Girl Scout troops’ efforts in advancing the largest girl-run business enterprise in the country.

This year, local Girl Scouts will offer Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-si-dos, and Savannah Smiles. New this year are two snack bars – Tagalongs and Double Dutch. All Girl Scout Cookies are free of preservatives and have zero trans fats. Cookies and snack bars are $4 per box.

Girls are also taking donations of Girl Scout cookies for Operation Taste of Home and local community groups. The Operation Taste of Home cookies will be donated to armed forces members and local agencies such as food banks and pantries, blood banks, cancer centers and youth programs.

Individuals interested in purchasing cookies or donating to Operation Taste of Home can call the Cookie Hotline at 1-800-YUM-YUM2. To locate a cookie booth sale go to click on Cookie Locator and enter a ZIP code. To learn more about Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, go to or call 1-800-341-4007 or 1-800-374-9811.