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 Olave St. Clair Baden-Powell

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Olave St. Clair Baden-Powell

  • Original Name Soames
  • Birth 22 Feb 1889 Chesterfield, Chesterfield Borough, Derbyshire, England
  • Death 19 Jun 1977 Bramley, Waverley Borough, Surrey, England
  • Burial Nyeri, Nyeri, Kenya
  • Memorial ID 1272

Social Reformer. The wife of Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell, in 1932, she was invested with the G.B.E., Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. She has been called the "Mother of Millions" for her active role in the World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Born in Chesterfield, England, into a wealthy upper-middle class family whose fortune was built in the brewery business, on the same day as her future husband. In 1908, her friend Sie Bower, who had a reputation for reading palms, predicted that she would marry a soldier in about 3 years, become a real person, go out to India in 6 years, and have 3 children (all of the predictions would come true). In January 1912, she and her father were passengers on the RMSP Arcadian, traveling from England via Jamaica to New York, when she was introduced to fellow passenger, then retired Lieutenant General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, a man of 55 years while she was just 23. She was going for a vacation in Jamaica, while he was traveling on to New York, to start a tour of the United States and then to Australia, in support of his Scouting organization. Very quickly, their shipboard infatuation turned into true romance, and within five days of their parting in Jamaica, they were writing to each other. On October 30, 1912, she married 55 year-old General Baden-Powell, despite the objections of her family. Robin, as she called him, had formed up the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides movement and was devoting most of his time to those movements. She quickly became caught up in his work with the Girl Guides organization. She was active in the early efforts to spread the organization internationally, helping each country to adopt uniforms, symbolism, badges, and laws with the same spirit as the original Girl Guides, and adapted to local conditions and culture. In 1916, she was appointed United Kingdom Chief Commissioner (later Chief Guide) and began to organize the Girl Guides movement throughout England. During World War I, the Girl Guides aided the allied cause, and promoting girls to be more than just future mothers; they were an early organization that would spur the cause of women's suffrage. In the post war years, she and her husband would attend numerous rallies, camps and conferences supporting the international growth of the organization. In 1930, Olave was appointed as World Chief Guide. Despite the death of her husband in 1941, she continued to serve during and after World War II, until her death in 1977. Her autobiography, "Window on My Heart", was published in 1973. She died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Bramley, England, in 1977. Her ashes were buried in the same cemetery in Kenya, next to her husband.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1272
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Olave St. Clair Baden-Powell (22 Feb 1889–19 Jun 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1272, citing Saint Peter's Cemetery, Nyeri, Nyeri, Kenya ; Maintained by Find A Grave .