OA Founder E. Urner Goodman in 1917

OA Founder E. Urner Goodman in 1917

As a part of the OA Centennial preparations, each lodge is being asked to research and write a lodge history book in 2014. Each submitted history book will be viewable through the digital archive of the Order of the Arrow and incorporated into the 2015 NOAC program. By creating a thorough history you will preserve your lodge’s unique story, which will be enjoyed by Arrowmen in the Order’s next century.

Each lodge is asked to submit the contact information of the lodge’s chairman and adviser for this project through the following survey. These lodge contacts will be sent monthly newsletters and helpful resources as they undertake this important project.

For more information on the Lodge History Book Program, click here.

Click here to download a copy of the Lodge History Book instructions.

Click here for a .pdf version of the “Preserving Our Customs & Traditions” training session from the 2014 Conclave

Click here for the Order of the Arrow Digital Archive

Notes from the Lodge Historian Coffee session at Conclave 2014:

Questions for group discussion

  • What challenges are you encountering in the research process?
  • Where are you currently in the process?
    • Beginning the research phase
    • Interviewing phase
    • Writing/Editing phase
    • Completion and final submission
  • Are you having trouble getting started? Need any help on where to start?
  • Have you found any resources that would be helpful to your neighboring lodges?
  • Have you been joining the Lodge Historian Conference Calls/Webinars?
  • What are some best practices you have utilized thus far?


Tutelo Lodge #161 members at the 1976 SE-1 Conclave at Camp Sinoquipe, PA

Tutelo Lodge #161 members at the 1976 SE-1 Conclave at Camp Sinoquipe, PA

Steps to creating a lodge history book

  • Research
    • Newspapers
    • Lodge / Council records
    • Past officers (all levels of the Order)
    • Past Founders’ Award, DSA, and/or Vigil recipients
    • Area lodges / former lodges
  • Public outreach
    • Within Scouting and local media – issue a call for:
      • Written or oral recollections from past members
      • Old photographs / paperwork / memorabilia / newsletters / annual reports
  • Writing/editing
    • Document sources (use footnotes or endnotes)
    • Create Lists
    • Caption photographs
  • Production
    • Print vs electronic format
    • Web-based (all or part)


Kecoughtan Lodge #463Ceremonial Ring construction at Camp Chickahominy, VA, early 1970's (image: kecoughtan.com)

Kecoughtan Lodge #463Ceremonial Ring construction at Camp Chickahominy, VA, early 1970’s (image: kecoughtan.com)

Components of a lodge history (see Appendix II)

  • Council formation
  • Camp formation
  • Pre-OA society (if any)
  • Founding of the lodge
  • Activities through the years
  • Lodge functions
  • Service projects
  • Area / Section events
  • National events
  • Awards
  • Vigil
  • Founders’ Award
  • Distinguished Service Award (DSA)
  • Special awards within the lodge
  • National service grants / awards


Centennial Coffee Table Book

  • At the request of the National Chairman, the National OA Committee is soliciting stories and photographs of lodge events, as well as unique individuals within Order of the Arrow history. To this, Lodge Historians have been asked to consider submitting the following items for inclusion in the Centennial Coffee Table Book:
    • Stories and photos of special lodge events or projects that were very impactful to the local council, camp, or community; examples would be the construction of the old camp headquarters entirely by lodge members, or the lodge’s service to the community during or after a hurricane.
    • Stories and photos of truly unique Arrowmen – not just the fellow who came to every event for 70 years, but the one Arrowman who had an impact on the community.
    • Submit stories and photographs to Lodge _History@email.oa-bsa.org


Closing & Announcements

  • Lodge history instructions at www.oa-bsa.org (See Appendix III for important links)
  • Promote monthly webinar calls and e-newsletters.
  • Questions – Lodge_History@email.oa-bsa.org


Order of the Arrow Founder E. Urner Goodman at Camp Chickahominy in 1976 for Kecoughtan Lodge's 25th Anniversary celebration (image: kecoughtan.com)

Order of the Arrow Founder E. Urner Goodman at Camp Chickahominy in 1976 for Kecoughtan Lodge’s 25th Anniversary celebration (image: kecoughtan.com)

Appendix I- Lodge Historian Sample Job Description

Overview: The purpose of the lodge historian is to serve as the institutional memory of the lodge. This is completed through overseeing lodge archival procurement and developing education opportunities at all lodge events. The appointed individual or committee is to serve as a link between the council, chapter and lodge leadership on maters of historical preservation.

Sample Responsibilities:

  • Report to the lodge secretary
  • Develop and maintain a secure repository for storage and proper preservation
  • Produce static exhibits and displays for lodge and council events
  • Develop opportunities to educate Scouts on the history of the local lodge
  • Provide a historical minute at lodge executive committee meetings
  • Write a historically based article for each issue of the newsletter
  • Produce an annual addendum detailing an updated lodge history for planbook
  • Prepare and maintain lodge scrapbook in conjunction with the lodge secretary
  • Compile and maintain listing of:
    • Lodge Chiefs
    • Lodge Advisers
    • Lodge Staff Advisers
    • Lodge Vigil recipients
    • Founder’s Award recipients
    • Distinguished Service Award recipients/National Order of the Arrow awards
    • Localized award recipients
    • Chapter Chiefs
    • Chapter Advisers
  • The committee should strive to acquire and preserve:
    • Important lodge and council related documents
    • Historic and current photographs
    • Items of memorabilia
    • Oral histories/ living history interviews
    • Written reflections
    • The history of the local lodge and any predecessor lodges


Cover of a 2004 lodge history book created by Shenandoah Lodge #258 (image: va-oa.org)

Cover of a 2004 lodge history book created by Shenandoah Lodge #258 (image: va-oa.org)

Appendix II- Preserving Lodge History: Assembling Artifacts

Overview:  “the more you have, the more you know” is a familiar saying, yet this could not apply better to the process of documenting your lodge history. There are three key areas of focus- developing comprehensive lists, gathering memorabilia, and conducting proper documentation. Concentrate on collecting and cataloging both physical and digital copies of items. When originals are not available, try to obtain copies. Scanned images can be of great value when creating public displays and educational pieces. As you search for items, consider council repositories, veteran Scouters, Arrowmen and Troop leaders. The process of creating a lodge history is supposed to be an exciting adventure.

Comprehensive Listings: (with dates when appropriate)

  • Detailed listing of Lodge Chiefs
  • Detailed listing of Lodge Advisers
  • Detailed listing of Lodge Vigils – Available via National Office
  • Detailed listing of Lodge Founder’s Award recipients
  • Detailed listing of Lodge Distinguished Service Award recipients-– Available via National Office
  • Listing of any of the above if joined lodge, but earned/awarded in another lodge
  • Detailed history of Lodge by year (event date and information, memorabilia scans)
  • Detailed listing of Lodge family tree – Predecessor lodges that existed within the current council boundaries. (include Council merger history as appropriate)
  • Section Conference host dates, themes and awards earned/bestowed
  • Complete listing of National and Section Officer’s from Lodge
  • Comprehensive listing of localized recognition awards. (bead/feather systems, elangomat recognition, Arrowman of the Year, etc.)
  • Biographies (including pictures) of all above people


  • Comprehensive patch history listing (with photographs)
  • Important items of memorabilia including:
    • Patches
    • Neckerchiefs
    • Mugs
    • T-Shirts
    • Bolos
    • Totem/Caldwellpins


  • Photographs from events
  • Original Charter & Annual Charters
  • Copies of LEC meeting minutes
  • Copies of Lodge bylaws to present
  • Lodge annual directories
  • All past Lodge newsletters and screen captures of website
  • Newspaper articles; especially those that document service by lodge
  • Copies of old lodge stationery and lodge made membership cards
  • Testimonials from Arrowmen on lodge, chapter and council involvement.


Appendix III- Lodge Historian Links of Interest

Collecting contact information for chairman and adviser of the lodge history book project for each lodge; submit your contact information via this link.

The above contact information is being collected so historians can receive a monthly newsletter, as well as be invited to a monthly topical webinar focusing on different aspects of the lodge history book project.

Available resources for lodges to check out:

For any questions, comments or concerns, please email the Lodge History Book team at: Lodge_History@email.oa-bsa.org