The History of
Hodges Badge Company


Becoming the Company you Know and Love!

The 1930s were a time of unrest for our great country. 

The Great Depression weighed heavily upon the economy, prohibition had ended, skyscrapers like the Empire State Building were becoming more popular and another world war loomed in the offing. The Hoover Dam was built, the Hindenburg exploded and the “War of the Worlds” was upon us. 

Hodges Badge Company was fortunate to be busier than ever, as many family businesses were closing their doors. In fact, the Hodges family had to hire employees outside the family for the first time to keep up with demand. 

Life in Boston was keen! The financial risk that William took to open his business was paying off. The Hodges’ family established themselves in the badge world. All the resistance that William had received from taking the risk to start the business had faded away. 

What other events and products could the Hodges’ cater to by supplying awards? Just like that, a huge opportunity appeared as horse shows gained popularity in the United States. William used the knowledge and skills that he had learned from his previous employer to fashion horse show ribbons and created the Beauty rosette. 

Anna Marice and Emaline Genevive, both skilled seamstresses, hand made these Beauty rosettes. William created Hodges’ first one sheet mailers featuring their new rosettes, riders’ numbers, and judges forms to send out to event sponsors. Prior to this Hodges had never produced rosettes, they were solely a badge company. This was the beginning of the beginning to the company that you know today. 

United States in the 1930's:

  • The Great Depression hit the world hard in the 30’s
  • Baseball legend Babe Ruth retired
  • The Star-Spangled Banner named U.S. National Anthem
  • Franklin Roosevelt elected President 
  • The Baseball Hall of Fame opened for business
  • Prohibition ended
  • The Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge were completed
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the New Deal to combat the effects of The Great Depression
  • World War II begins with Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland
  • Scientists split the atom

Hand made Hodges Beauty rosette from 1939

Judges’ Score Cards from the original one sheet mailers that William created and mailed out to event sponsors in the hopes of expanding into horse shows.

Photo taken in 1938 at 166 Essex Street Boston, MA, Hodges Badge Company’s first location in Boston. The photo features (right to left) William Hodges, Frederick (“Ted”) Hodges, and three of Hodges Badge Company’s first employees in Boston.