The Saint Andrew's Society at New York in the Province of New York is founded on November 19, 1756, "for the relief of Natives of Scotland and their Descendants who might be in Want or Distress, and to promote Social Intercourse among its members." Philip Livingston is the first president.
The first known Annual Banquet is held on Saint Andrew's Day with 60 men dining in "the most elegant manner" at the tavern of John Thompson, known as "Scotch Johnny's." The dinner was followed by a ball at the King's Arms Tavern. The festivities were recorded in the New-York Mercury, which observed that "the Ladies made a most elegant appearance."
Three members of the Society sign the Declaration of Independence: Philip Livingston, Lewis Morris, and Rev John Witherspoon.
A subscription to raise funds for a "Saint Andrew's Hall" is begun. Alexander Hamilton's signature and a pledge of £15, along with the pledges of other notable Society members, is recorded in a small ledger preserved in the Society's archives.
The Society purchases lots on Broad Street and New Streets. The lots were sold in 1794 (at a profit, of course!) The New York Stock Exchange now occupies the site.
A new Constitution is approved on November 13, 1794 at a meeting at the Tontine Coffee House, which would continue to be a favored meeting place for the Society into the early 19th century.
A salaried Almoner is hired to oversee the Society's charitable work and the distribution of funds.
The 100th Anniversary Banquet was held on December 1, 1856 at the Metropolitan Hotel and received considerable attention in the press. Ladies, typically not included in the annual dinners, were seated on a mezzanine overlooking the main floor.
The Saint Andrew's Society cemetery plot is established with the acquisition of 800 square feet in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in 1856. The first interment was in 1860. A handsome granite obelisk was erected to mark the site in 1888, a gift of John Stewart Kennedy. By 1956 the plot had expanded to 8,800 square feet.
Many members of the Saint Andrew's Society serve in the Union Army with the 79th Highlanders and other units. Annual Banquets are suspended 1861-1864.
A revised constitution expands membership eligibility to include any lineal descendant of a Scot, not just a son or grandson of a Scot.
Andrew Carnegie donates $100,000 (equal to $2,700,000 in 2016) to the Saint Andrew's Society. Carnegie bequeathed another $100,000 to the Society in 1922. These remained the largest single donations made to the Society until the bequests of Charles Stuart Proctor Barker and Margaret Macmillan were received nearly a century later.
The Annual Banquet honors Carnegie's outgoing presidency and features Samuel Clemens, the renowned Mark Twain, as speaker. The evening receives a large write-up in the New York Times. In 2016, the event is commemorated by the Mark Twain "Sammy" Award.
The Sesquicentennial Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria is attended by 620 people. Andrew Carnegie presents the Society with a large, silver loving cup, which is still a feature of the annual banquet.
The position of Society Historian is established. The first being William MacBean whose Biographical Register of Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York, in Two Volumes, and Roster of Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York, with Biographical Data 1756-1906, are essential to the preservation of the Society's early history.
The Great Depression curtails Society activities, but not its mission.
One hundred-five members of the Society and 104 sons of members serve in the armed forces. The Society provides war relief and, no doubt to the considerable irritation of the enemy, distributes 10 sets of bagpipes to Prisoner of War camps.
The 193rd Annual Banquet reunites General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery for the first time since the end of WWII. Eisenhower is a featured speaker, but Montgomery must leave early to fulfill another obligation.
Formalizing a Society tradition of interest in education that goes back to the establishment of King's College (Columbia University), the Scholarship Fund is established.
A donation of $25,000 from past President Nestor MacDonald kickstarts the Scholarship Fund and the first award is made.
The "Family Quaich Award" is established to recognize the family with the most members present at the Annual Banquet.
Libyan terrorists destroyed with a bomb, Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. Robert E. Colquohoun, 86th President, visits Lockerbie soon afterward with a donation from the Society.
The statues of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott in Central Park on what is known as Poet's Walk, are cleaned and restored with a grant of $65,000 from the Saint Andrew's Society.
The United States Senate recognizes April 6th as "National Tartan Day."
On September 11, terrorists fly two commercial airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Among the 2,606 killed are three members of the Saint Andrew's Society: James Leslie Crawford Jr, Andrew Marshall King, and Derek Ogilvie Sword.
The Saint Andrew's Society, as the city's oldest Scottish organization is founding sponsor of "New York Tartan Day." The Society and its banner has had a prominent position in the Tartan Day Parade every year.
The Saint Andrew's Society Tartan, designed by member Hamish Ian Carruthers MBE, is registered with the Scottish Tartan Authority on January 23. This is followed by a proclamation on October 7, 2005 from the Lord Lyon, King of Arms in Edinburgh, granting a coat of arms to the Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York. These events become part of the 250th Anniversary Celebration.
The 250th Anniversary of the Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York is celebrated with a gala banquet at Cipriani's. The Agnes and Margaret Macmillan Macmillan Scholarship Fund is announced by Margaret "Peggy" Macmillan.
The constitution is revised to admit women into membership in the Saint Andrew's Society. The first woman to be admitted is Margaret "Peggy" Macmillan.
The first Gala Dinner honoring distinguished Scots from both sides of the Atlantic is held to benefit the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow. Not only are considerable funds raised, but the event fosters a relationship between these two world-class hospitals.
Utilizing the bequest of Charles Barker received in 2006, the Barker Fund is established to further the Society's philanthropic mission.
The archives of the Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York are transferred to the care of the New York Historical Society, joining a collection of documents and histories of the Saint Andrew's Society already in the possession of the Historical Society.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, becomes an Honorary Member of the Society.
Kirsty Wark, Journalist and a popular anchor of the BBC, is the first woman to speak at an annual banquet. The Mark Twain Award, a handsome, bespoke album bound in the Saint Andrew's Society's tartan and commemorating Mark Twain at the 145th Annual Banquet in 1901, is presented for the first time to Ms. Wark.