OA Legacy Collection – OA Patches Before The Flaps

After the founding of the Order of the Arrow in 1915, some of the original lodges issued patches as early as the 1920s. By the 1950s most lodges had produced one or more of these “odd shapes” for wear on the OA sash or uniform pocket. In the mid-1940s, Ajapeu Lodge 33 in Doylestown PA produced the first “odd shape” made to be worn on the flap of the shirt pocket. At first this style was discouraged by the OA National Committee, but in 1954 the Committee declared the right shirt pocket the official location for OA insignia. By 1960, almost all active lodges were wearing pocket flap badges.


In the early 1950s, Dwight Bischel of Wabaningo Lodge 248 decided to research the history and insignia of the OA lodges that existed at that time. He wrote letters to all lodges requesting information and a sample of their current patch. He published a small handbook with lodge information and a black/white picture of these patches. This is the earliest known “official” record of OA lodge insignia. He titled his pamphlet: “Wabaningo Lodge Emblem Handbook.” The mostly odd-shaped OA patches pictured in this book became known as “WABs”.


Between 1990 and 2015 Russell Smart of Greenville SC assembled a large collection of early OA odd shapes. Through his research, he determined that 459 of the 567 lodges (81%) chartered through 2015 issued an odd shape patch at some point. Of those 459 lodges, his collection contains an example of one of the earliest odd shapes from 424 of those lodges (92%). Of the 183 odd shapes considered “WABs,” his collection contains 162 of those (89%). Several of those are the actual patches collected by Dwight Bischel in the 1950s.


Russell has decided that it is time to sell this unusual collection, starting with those pieces that he considers the “best of the best.” He has high resolution photographs of these compiled into an online flipbook for viewing by anyone who may be interested in seeing them or becoming the next owner.


Here is the link: https://bit.ly/LegacyOAcollection The online flipbook also contains the terms of the sale and the minimum bids required to participate in the first round of this sale.


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