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Army of the Philippines, Society-Army of the Philippines, and National Society-Army of the Philippines


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Looking for discussion to help clarify what I feel may be a common misconception with the membership badges of this society.


I recently (in the past year) started collecting VFW membership badges. As an active member of the VFW and someone who respects history, I had read up on the founding of the VFW and that in 1913 the Society-Army of the Philippines (SAP) joined with the American Veterans of Foreign Service (AVFS) as The Army of the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. On August 1st, 1914, General order #10 changed the groups name to The Veterans of Foreign Wars. This is an undeniable fact.


The confusion is with The National Society-Army of the Philippines (NSAP) and its membership badge.


But first lets start with the membership badge of the SAP, in a paper read to the American Numismatic Society by B L Beldon on December 27, 1900. There is a note on the badge adopted by the SAP, it describes as the first adopted badge, what several publications (American Society Medals by Bishop and Elliot and the November 1973 Volume 24, No. 11, pg 17 of the Medal Collector) have dubbed the type 2; with the type 3 dropping the word "society" from the reverse. Link provided to the paper: Click Here


In the aforementioned publications, they mention the Type 1 membership badge and have pictures of it. I believe this to be incorrect, I believe what they are calling the Type 1 of the SAP is in fact the only membership badge of the NSAP. I will explain why I have come to this conclusion.


In the book "VFW Our First Century" pg 43 explains how the SAP and AVFS came together to form the VFW. It also states "A Philippine Society camp in Boston disavowed the proceedings." This would infer that they remained the SAP, Correct? I think so, to some extent.


Fast forward to 1930... House of Representatives, 71st Congress, 1st Session, Report No. 1983 "To incorporate the National Society-Army of the Philippines as a body corporate and politic of the District of Columbia" Link for the report: Click Here


It states on pg 2 "National Society-Army of the Philippines, successor to Society-Army of the Philippines, successor to Army of the Philippines. Organized at Denver, Colo., August 13, 1900, as the first Spanish-American-Philippine War organization. General Headquarters, Boston, Mass., 1930."


The entirety of the organizations by-laws are a part of the linked report and on pg 4 it describes in detail the membership badge of the NSAP. The membership badge described is what has been identified previously as a Type 1.


The NSAP can be found in other documents online into the 1950's, I am unaware of when they actually passed into extinction.


Are you smelling what I am stepping in??? It seems to me that the SAP ceased to exist in 1913 when they merged, a small faction refused to merge and went on to form their own new, yet strangely the same, society... the NSAP. In doing so, they had to make a new membership badge as the rights to the old one were basically voted away when the SAP agreed to merge.


SAP (Example found online)




NSAP (Example found online)







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Wonderful research!


I wish I could add to the discussion but I am ignorant of this obvious consternation that went on at the founding/merging of these organizations. The GAR, and its affiliates, is hard enough for me to sort out I am afraid.


Your logic concerning the NSAP and the nay-saying Boston Post is compelling. One also has to bear in mind that since these Congressional Reports were not written by historians but by the requesting organization itself their historical content has to be taken with a grain of salt. Having said that, these resolutions are often the best official primary resource available. I know that when the GAR and UCV divested their corporate identities to their younger Sons organizations it was a somewhat lengthy process which seems to have been what happened with the SAP/NSAP if I understand it correctly.


All this does not help us collectors sort out what is what however.

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  • 3 months later...

I missed out on this item on Ebay, however I did get permission from the seller to use his photos.


This is a recruiting pamphlet from 1947 for the National Society Army of the Philippines. There is a picture of the membership badge itself on the document. That coupled with the fact that the current VFW badge was modeled after the Army of the Philippines badge that was in use in 1913 at the merger, should help sort out what is what.


I may have to upload the files separately.



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Excellent information. Clearly, the NSAP emphatically states they were organized in 1900 and have, "...never merged or changed its identity." This is as of 1947. Good job in finding this brochure.

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So there is a story behind that... the organization actually merged with the American Veterans of Foreign Service in 1913 thus becoming the VFW. At a previous NSAP Convention it was ruled that the NSAP could not merge with out the approval of 100% of the membership. It happened anyways and that is why certain Camps (Boston and Chicago) disavowed the proceedings and continued to operate as the NSAP. The congressional report from 1930 that I reference in December is the NSAP applying for a congressional charter, when applying for that, an organization has to submit a copy of their bylaws. In the bylaws is the description of the membership badge as pictured on the brochure.


Every where I look on the internet the badge with the Philippine flag is described as the first badge of the NSAP when the physical proof says otherwise.


prior to being on lock down due to COVID-19 I was planning a trip to the Hagely Museum to go through the records of Bailey, Banks & Biddle... they were the manufacturer of both versions... maybe this fall I can make that trip.

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A card that I picked up, I am assuming it would have been used for sales in some way.



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