The Girl Scouts Cookie Sale: How it all Began

Posted: Jan 05, 2012

In Oklahoma, a troop baked and sold cookies at their local high school—the first record of a Girl Scout cookie sale.

1920s: After an “American Girl” article suggested Girl Scouts sell cookies for profit in 1922, girls informally began selling cookies in various councils across the country for .25 to .35 cents per box.

1934: The Greater Philadelphia Council became the first council to sell commercially baked cookies.

 Cookie Sale (1930s)

The national Girl Scout organization began the process to license the first commercial baker for the cookie sale. Enthusiasm for Girl Scout Cookies spread nationwide.

1937: More than 125 Girl Scout councils reported holding cookie sales.

1940: First record of Girl Scouts cookie sale in Arizona.

1942: Cookie sales in AZ reach 10,400 boxes sold. However, this momentum diminished across the US during WWII due to rationing of sugar, butter and flower.

1948: A total of 29 bakers throughout the nation were licensed to bake Girl Scout Cookies.

1951: Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints). Girl Scout Cookies were sold by girls in shopping malls.

1953: 419 cartons of cookies were sold in Arizona, netting $8,000.

1955: Cookie profits in Arizona reached $11,829, which helped finance improvements at our camps.

1957: With baby boomers entering Girl Scouts, Cookie sales soared. Cookie profits in Arizona grew to $18,704.

1963: Arizona cookie sale profits reached $46,243.

1966: A number of cookie varieties became available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint, Shortbread, and Peanut Butter.

1968: Cookie sales in Arizona brought in $55,170. From 1967 to 1968, cookie sales increased by 27,209 boxes! Profits continued to climb, reaching $67,000 in 1969.

1970: 1 box of cookies cost $1.00 in Arizona

1972: Cookie sale profits increased to $100,000+

1978: For the first time in history, all Girl Scout Cookie® boxes featured the same designs and depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action, including hiking and canoeing.

 Cookie Box (1970s)

1982: A maximum of seven varieties of cookies were made—three mandatory (Thin Mint, Sandwich, and Shortbread) and four optional ones.
Cookie Delivery (1970s)

Eight cookie varieties were available, including low fat and sugar-free selections. Girl Scouts of the USA licensed three bakers to produce cookies.

The national organization introduced official age-appropriate awards for Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts for participating in cookie activities.
2000s: The cookie boxes now clearly show girls having fun and growing strong. The two licensed bakers produce a maximum of eight varieties, including three mandatory ones (Thin Mint, Peanut Butter Sandwich, and Shortbread). All cookies are kosher.

Cookie sales continue to be a huge hit across the country, and right here in Arizona. Cookie sales continue to increase, and interest in the sale among girls’ climbs year by year.  Between 2009 and 2011, nearly 1,000 additional Girl Scouts joined the cookie sale!

2012 is sure to bring another successful sale, with a focus on what cookies bring to the Girl Scouts’ experience—skills in financial literacy, and funds to promote enriching activities!  [Click here] for more information about this year’s cookie sale, including the new cookie in celebration of our 100th anniversary, the “Savannah Smile!”

Information for this piece gathered from the GS USA Cookie History page. Local facts retrieved from “The Long Green Line” by Dorothy Canfield Foster.