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St. Andrew's Society of Charleston records

Identifier: Mss 0144

Collection Overview

This collection includes administrative, financial, and membership records, records of charitable assistance, and other materials of the St. Andrew's Society of Charleston. Records document the social and benevolent activities of the St. Andrew's Society between the years 1729 to 2001. Administrative records include the original handwritten Rules and Autograph book, containing the original rules of the St. Andrew's Society including the signatures of the original 34 members, annual rule books of the St. Andrew's Society, containing the rules and by-laws of the Society, lists of officers and members for the year. There are also bound meeting minutes from 1934 to 1987, and reports from the Committee on Relief, and the Committee on Accounts. Also included in the collection are financial records containing membership arrears for dues and fines, operational receipts for hall rental, gas, printing costs for rule books, and advertising fees for meetings. Ledgers, journals, and cashbooks listing the society's funds, money paid out and received, and expenses are also included. There are also membership records containing membership applications, letters of resignation as well as waiting lists and yearly accepted members to the Society. The collection also includes material concerning to the Society's charitable activities including personal applications for assistance and charitable receipts for monies received. Materials relating to the annual St. Andrew's anniversary banquet including invitations, attendee's lists, and programs are also included in the collection. A small amount of material relating to the lot purchase and construction of the St. Andrew's Hall is also included as well as publications and objects collected by the organization.


  • Creation: 1729-2001


Language of Material

Materials in English

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Historical Note

The St. Andrew's Society is a social and benevolent organization founded in 1729 in Charleston, South Carolina. Named after the patron saint of Scotland, it is the oldest organization of its type and the progenitor for many other St. Andrews Societies in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Established to "do generous and charitable actions... and [to] promote some public good," the organization initially provided assistance through monetary handouts to the poor and disadvantaged of Charleston. Today the organization provides regular funding to various local charities and educational institutions each year.

While membership in the benevolent society was, for the most part, of Scottish origin, the Society did not limit its membership to Scotchmen or persons of Scottish descent. Membership was open to any person over the age of eighteen, regardless of their nationality, religion, or profession. On the eve of the American Revolution membership in the organization had grown to over one hundred. The American Revolution, and later, the Civil War, would interrupt the activities of the Society, resulting in a decrease in membership. Despite these interruptions, membership in the organization would steadily increase, and in 1897, the Society would pass a resolution limiting the number of members to two hundred, with any additional individuals applying for membership to be placed on a waiting list.

Revenues used for charity were acquired through admission fees, annual dues, and contributions. Additional income was generated from fines, including fines for non-attendance, for refusal to serve as an officer, and for failure to perform committee duty. However, regular membership fees constituted the principal source of revenue for the Society. Charity was extended to all cases that seemed worthy and came within the Society's resources. Any individuals requiring immediate relief could receive any sum under twenty dollars. From 1804 to 1812 the Society also provided elementary education for the disadvantaged children of Charleston through its Society School, located at 49 Church Street.

Prior to the construction of St. Andrew's Hall, organizational meetings were held quarterly in member's homes on the last days of February, May, August, and November. These meetings would eventually be held monthly after 1818. General meetings would be taken up with the reports of the Committee of Charity, later the Committee of Relief, and the Committee on the Treasurers Account, as well as any requests for charity, and new business. The annual anniversary meetings, held on the morning of November 30th, St. Andrew's Day, were taken up with the election of the new officers for the forthcoming year as well as the officers for the various committees that comprised the St. Andrew's Society. The day would conclude with the annual anniversary banquet. Originally a small affair consisting of dinner, music, and various toasts, in time the celebration would grow to include bagpipe processions, greetings from sister societies, poems, speeches, addresses by prominent speakers of the day, and honored guests.

Completed in 1815 and located on Broad Street, the St. Andrew's Hall became the headquarters of the St. Andrew's Society and an epicenter for Charleston's social, cultural, and political events. When South Carolina delegates gathered to formally renounce allegiance to the United States, St. Andrew's Hall was selected as the meeting place and has the distinction of being the site where the Ordinance of Succession was signed. In 1861, a fire destroyed a portion of the city, including St. Andrew's Hall. Afterwards the Society would hold their meetings at various locations throughout Charleston. In 1867, the Society began holding its monthly meetings at the South Carolina Society Hall, located on 72 Meeting Street, where the Society still holds its meetings to this day.


12.0 linear feet (10 document boxes, 1 carton, 5 flat boxes, 1 oversize folder, 2 oversize books)


This collection includes administrative, financial, and membership records, records of charitable assistance, and other materials of the St. Andrew's Society of Charleston. Records document the social and benevolent activities of the St. Andrew's Society between the years 1729 to 2001.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Administrative records, 1730-1995
  2. Financial records, 1743-1942
  3. Membership records, 1729-1984
  4. Charitable assistance, 1739-1899
  5. St. Andrew's Day Anniversary banquets, 1756-2001
  6. St. Andrews Hall, circa 1804-2005
  7. Publications, 1822-1938
  8. Objects, 1967, undated

Acquisitions Information

Temporary custody receipt from St. Andrew's Society received June 2008. Deed of Gift from St. Andrew's pending.

Alternate Form of Materials

Digital reproductions available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include The History of the St. Andrew's Society of Charleston, South Carolina, 1729-1929 (1929) by J. H. Easterby and Rules of the St. Andrew's society, of the city of Charleston, South Carolina (1892). Pamphlets include Rules, list of officers and members from 1729 to 1901, with historical sketch of the society (1901), The St. Andrews Society Charleston, South Carolina (1959), Officers and members of the St. Andrew's Society, Charleston, S.C., November 30th, 1903 (1903), and Presented by The St. Andrew's Society on the Occasion of the Two Hundredth Anniversary, November Thirtieth, as a Tribute to Major General William Moultrie, Sixth President of the Society, 1787-1789 (1929) by The St. Andrew's Society of Charleston, and Address Delivered in The First Presbyterian Church before The St. Andrew's Society, of the City of Charleston, on their Centennial Anniversary, the 30th of November, 1829, at their request (1829) by Mitchell King.

Processing Information

Processed by Joshua Minor and Neal Polhemus, December 2010-November 2011.

Inventory of the St. Andrew's Society of Charleston Records, 1729-2001
Processed by: Joshua Minor; machine-readable finding aid created by: Joshua Minor
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)