Neckerchiefs and Patches
and the OA Blue Book

The following comments are from Bill Topkis, a former Blue Book editor.

The Blue Book project began in 1993. At the time I was the only editor that wanted to list silk-screened and direct embroidered neckerchiefs. That might sound crazy 20 years later, but that was how it was. Prior to that time neckerchiefs had been virtually ignored by collectors. I may have been the collector most responsible for raising awareness of the hobby on neckerchiefs (and totem pins, and it took five editions before I convinced the national editors to list them in the back of the book)

The “ patch” editors did not know the neckerchiefs, so for Blue Book One, the only way I could persuade the other editors to let them in was to list them at the end of each lodge. We knew they were incomplete, but it was the best effort possible. The Blue Book had the patches listed in chronological order and at that time most regional editors had no clue where they fit in. I collected them, but often when I discovered an unknown issue I had zero idea where in the patch chronology it fit in.

So it was decided that patches would be listed in the first section for each lodge, and that the neckerchiefs would be separate. Since neckerchief patches were already listed, the other editors found them redundant and did not want them listed with the other N’ s. Also, virtually none of the editors really knew all the colors of neckerchiefs a neckerchief patch was issued on. Many collectors of the era routinely stripped neckerchief patches off the neckerchief.

I lost the vote to list all neckerchiefs with patches in the N section by a vote of 6 - 1. (I also lost on dropping the J for jacket patch, and I wanted all patches listed with two letters, one for shape and one for material instead of a mixture of both). In my collection I always wanted neckerchief patches on the neckerchief, the 1987 pie on neckerchief you are discussing is of a picture that I took of the one in my collection .

editor’s notes:
I believe Bill is saying that when the Blue Book started, patches were patches and neckerchiefs were neckerchiefs, period. And the Blue Book listed patches. Patches were decorative, you sewed them on your uniform or your jacket to show that you had participated in some event. Neckerchiefs were utilitarian, you wore them to keep the sun off your neck, or keep the rain from coming down your back. Scouts collected patches, but they used neckerchiefs.

It was only later that Scouts began collecting neckerchiefs. At that time it was decided that neckerchiefs could be dyed some color and maybe have some pattern sewn on, but no patches. A patch was a patch, but a neckerchief with a sewed on patch was something strange and undefined.

Click for an example. Bill mentions the 1987 pie patch on a neckerchief. (this opens in a new window) The photo shows the patch and the neckerchief. The oaimage site lists the 1987 patch, but does not list the neckerchief. Indeed I have not found any mention in the Blue Book that this neckerchief exists.