Sep 23, 2009

New Kecoughtan chenille prototype discovered

A couple of days ago my friend and fellow Virginia OA collector Michael McCaughan advised me he had obtained what appears to be a prototype of the Kecoughtan C-3 chenille that was issued for the Lodge's 40th anniversary in 1991.  He said that the patch was part of a group of sample chenilles purchased by John Conley Williams directly from Standard Pennant Company and later sold to another collector in Virginia. Michael kindly sent me pictures of the front and back. Interestingly, the reverse of the patch does not include a manufacturer's label:
I had likewise never heard of such a prototype; it's not listed in the Blue Book or any other Kecoughtan listings like those compiled by the late Dr. Ron Godby. I checked the Kryer archive to see who was active in Trading Post affairs in 1991 and discovered that Dr. Godby was Trading Post Advisor, and his son Jeff was Lodge Chief.

A quick email to Jeff confirmed the patch Michael obtained is indeed authentic and apparently one of two known to exist. The other one is in Jeff's collection, and he sent me pictures of it to share. Below is a picture of the prototype next to the released version.

Jeff's prototype includes a Standard Pennant Company label on the reverse, just like the released version:

As with the Chanco chenille prototype, the handwritten numbers "12/19" on the reverse of the patch would seem to indicate that more examples of the patch exist:

A prior version of the Standard Pennant Company web site explains the numbers have a different significance:
While technology has enabled us to automate part of our production, many of our chenille items are still "handmade" by experienced personnel that consistently reproduce every required detail. All operators identify their own letters with pride. (Check for the operator number on the back).
I expect that since the prototype Michael now has was intended to be archived and never expected to leave the premises, so no label was ever attached. I confirmed by email with Conley Williams that the prototype 463 C-3 was indeed part of the sample set he purchased from SPC in 1995 and later sold in a group of Virginia items.

If this was the second chenille prototype for Kecoughtan Lodge it would be cataloged as 463-YC2, but it's not. In his reply to my inquiry about this patch Jeff Godby revealed another chenille prototype previously unknown to me; one for the Kecoughtan C-2. That's a story for a subsequent article. For now just know that this one will be listed on my web site as 463-YC3.

Sep 21, 2009

2005 activity patch arrow posted

I've spent several hours recently putting my Wahunsenakah Lodge patches into new patch envelopes and pages from What great products to display patch collections!

I took a moment to stop my organizational efforts to scan a picture of the 2005 Wahunsenakah Lodge activity patches together, forming an arrow. I'm only about 3.5 years late posting this. The combined parts extended well beyond the length of my Canon scanner, so I had to do some photoshop work, scanning each end and combining them to create the image you see above.

Wahunsenakah Lodge also issued puzzle piece activity patches that form a larger image when combined together in 2000 (arrowhead) and 2002 (fleur d'lis). You can see them one piece at a time or together on the Wahunsenakah Lodge Activity Emblems page.

Arapaho Listings for Chanco and Kecoughtan Lodge

Long before there was a Blue Book for OA Collectors the standard reference for Order of the Arrow emblem collectors was Arapaho II - A History of the Order of the Arrow Through Insignia. Arapaho II was a collaborative effort by Albertus Hoogeveen, Richard Breithaupt, and Dave Leubitz, first published in 1979 in loose leaf format. Although it was not the first attempt to catalog OA issues, it was a landmark publication is the scope of it's efforts to publish not only listings but also pictures of each Lodge's known issues.

Arapaho II remains a vital historical document since the authors diligently researched topics including lodge names, totems, and charter dates in official OA records while onsite at the BSA Headquarters, then located in New Brunswick, NJ. Those archives were later destroyed, leaving Arapaho II as the only remaining authoritative resource for this vital historical data.

When I began collecting OA patches in the 70's my flap patches were stored in ziplock bags with matching cards from Alhoo Supplies, Albertus' company for patch collecting goods. Albertus was a pioneer in cataloging the first issues of Council Shoulder Patches when they came on the scene in the early 70's, publishing Arapaho I which illustrated these colorful replacements for the prior red and white community and state strips. Although CSPs were popular because they were not restricted like most OA items were at the time, there were still rarities, like those from merged councils. Albertus gave me a CSP from the newly merged Grayback Council and I still treasure it as a great example of a senior collector aiding a newcomer to the hobby.

Recently a fellow collector asked me for a copy of the Kecoughtan Lodge listings from Arapaho II and when I wasn't able to quickly find my copy I asked Trey Walls if he could help out. He generously provided scans of not only Lodge 463 items, but also Lodge 483 as well. Albertus kindly granted permission for me to share these copyrighted items on my web site, so they are offered now as aids for researchers and collectors of those lodges.

You can download and view the 4.6 MB PDF document including these listings from Arapaho here.

In this modern age of computers, digital cameras, and the internet it's hard to appropriately appreciate the vast amount of effort and expense that went into early collecting publications like Arapaho II. Every image was shot on film and developed, every word typed and laid out painstakingly one letter at a time on typewriters, and every bit of information gathered and confirmed in person or by telephone call or postal letter. What we can accomplish in a few minutes then took weeks or months to share. We owe a lot to pioneers like Albertus for setting the standard high for accuracy and detail that remains valuable decades later.

Sep 1, 2009

What is a complete Kecoughtan collection?

For aspiring collectors of any OA Lodge, the holy grail is a "complete collection" of everything ever officially issued by the Lodge. For most lodges this is a virtually impossible task since some items had limited distribution or for older items simply not commonly found anymore. Kecoughtan is no different, but that shouldn't deter you from trying to assemble a complete collection.

A complex question could be "what comprises a complete Kecoughtan collection?" Rather than delve too deeply into the finer points of defining which items should truly be considered official issues or which items are definite varieties that deserve a separate listing and which don't I'll keep the answer simple.

Using the Sixth Edition of the Blue Book Catalog of Standard Order of the Arrow Insignia, published in 2006 (the most current one available now) the total listings for Kecoughtan Lodge break out as follows:

Number Type
9 Arrowheads
14 Chapter
4 Chenilles
100 Events
1 Jacket
1 Leather
2 Neckerchief
1 Unauthorized
8 Round
44 Solid Embroidered Flaps
17 Odd Shape (X)
1 Prototypes
202 Total

Ready to get started? Here's a handy checklist created with Dave Pede's awesome Blue Book VI PDF Generator. Note that the Blue Book doesn't list items like coffee mugs, hat pins, keychains, or belt buckles, so once you assemble the 202 items above there's still plenty to keep you busy.

Note: The collection pictured above is not mine. Thanks to Ray Ellis for sharing this picture with me of a beautifully displayed Kecoughtan collection.