Welcome to the St. Andrew’s Society of the City of Albany! We invite you to stroll through these pages to learn about our past and our vision for the future. You will see images that tell a story which began in 1803 and continues today. We are a Society that continues to be an important part of the Albany community through our deeds quietly performed. Our motto “Relieve the Distressed” and our creed “Faire Sans Dire” (Do Without Speaking) have guided us through 200 years of service in the Capital District of New York. We are a Society of Scots who have recently moved to these shores and Scots whose ties to Scotland are many generations past. We have a story to tell and a history to keep alive. We hope that you will find this story interesting and inspiring as you move through these pages.
The Thistle as the national emblem of Scotland has been used for a long time but the origin and date of its first use are unknown. We know that as early as 1470 James III had it struck on silver coins. The thistle's sharp defense is equated with the royal chivalric motto of the Order of the Thistle: Nemo me impune lacessit - "Let none assail me with impunity." The thistle is used to make connection with Scotland beyond its borders. For example, it is one of the four floral emblems on the flag of Montreal and Carnegie Mellon University features the thistle on its crest in honor of the Scottish heritage of its founder, Andrew Carnegie who was elected to membership in our Society in 1903. One legend that has a special place in the hearts of Scots suggests that an invading Viking army attempted a sneak attack at night upon a Scottish army's encampment. During this operation a barefoot Norseman stepped upon a thistle, causng him to cry out in pain, thus alerting the Scots to the presence of the invaders. As one Scottish historian said, "Naturally, I would like to think this is true!"