Girl Scouts at the Oval, c 1923: A Reader Seeks History Help

A reader writes in with a photo and a query

"My mom (and her sisters and mother) were very active in Girl Scouts in the Oranges in the 1920s. Mom's maiden name was Irene Tonks. Mom and her sister - Betty Tonks - were Golden Eaglets," writes a reader. "I now own a very good quality 8 x 10 photograph of a US flag being formally raised on a flag pole. The following is written on the back of the photo: 'October 26, 1923. First flag raising at Camp Natalie Kip.' Can you tell me more about this setting and event? Thanks!"

Any local historians have an idea? Or do you know Girl Scout history inside and out? This photo raises questions that we'd love to answer!

Please note the partially obscured sign that reads "Girl Scouts [of] the Oranges."  On the back of the photo the following is also written:  "South Mt. Reservation, South Orange, N.J."

Our reader speculates that, first, the that the camp was named after South Orange's Kip family and, second, that she was actively involved in Girl Scouts at the time of her fall from the horse (which resulted in her death). 

He also notes that, "There is also something else on the back of the photo:  a large, black ink rubber stamp 'impression' that reads 'From Drew, Bynum, Peters Photography.  New Jersey News Service.'  This leads me to speculate that this event was a big deal and that perhaps there would even have been an article about the event in the local newspapers the next day (October 27, 1923) or very soon thereafter."

So we have lots of information, but no answer (yet) to our reader's question:

What was going on in this photo?

If you have answers or ideas, please either comment below or email: marciaw@patch.com.  We'll follow up in a further story.

Marcia Worth May 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
We're working on it. The WySoMiSh cabin in locally thought to be the S Orange cabin; Kip may be the Orange cabin. We've had several interesting reader suggestions! Thanks and stay tuned.
Lynne Ranieri May 09, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Have you seen this 1924 article about it: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=4whEAAAAIBAJ&sjid=g7AMAAAAIBAJ&pg=952,1416787&dq=nathalie-kip&hl=en
Marcia Worth May 10, 2012 at 09:19 AM
Lynne, Thank you very much for that! We have lots of info now to work with.
Laura Griffin May 10, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I love reading those old newspaper articles, Lynne. Besides being helpful, they're lots of fun!
Carole Mackenzie May 12, 2012 at 03:00 AM
The Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey council runs the Girl Scout OVAL camp in the South Mountain Reservation. Before becoming the Heart of NJ coucil, they were Greater Essex and Hudson Counties council, before that Greater Essex Council and before that were individual town councils. Natalie Kipp is one cabin located at the OVAL camp. There are 8 other cabins that were built by other communities (Newark, Nutley, ...) within Essex County. One cabin Stoney Brook burned down several years ago. The WySoMiSh cabin was built by the Girl Scouts from Wyoming, South Orange, Millburn and Short Hills (hence the name). The current council may be contacted through the website www.gshnj.org


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