Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saint Andrew's Dinner, November 26, 1911, Auditorium Hotel

The headlines read "Braw Scots to give dinner.  Eleven hundred highlanders to honor St. Andrew."
This Dinner was held on a Wednesday night at the Auditorium hotel banquet hall. It was the sixty-sixth annual dinner of the Illinois St. Andrew Society, "one of the oldest Scottish organizations in the country."  Daniel A. Campbell, Postmaster of Chicago, was chairman of banquet committee.

Several lines in the article are used to talk about haggis the same as it is today. It's why I have always objected to the term "Feast of the Haggis."  The St. Andrew's Day Dinner should not be about haggis, even though it is served.  The evening should be about our great history and what the event means in our history. It is an evening to celebrate our heritage, our work and our people - not the national dish of Scotland even though the press will only be interested in the Haggis.

At this event in 1911, Governor Deneen was the speaker.  Charles Nagel, secretary of commerce and labor spoke about "The Land We Live In."  Prof. David Kinley of the University of Illinois spoke on "The Land We Left" and W. Stanford Evans, mayor of Winnipeg, on "Our Sister Dominion."  Former Judge Ninian H. Welch was the toastmaster.

"Mounds of purple heather, plucked from the hills within a mile of Skibo Castle on the outskirts of Andrew Carnegie's domain" decorated the tables.  "In the center of the table will be a great ram's head brought here forty years ago by George Anderson and presented to the society at the annual dinner held on Nov. 30, 1871, at the Briggs house."

Hugh Ritchie, was 87 years old in 1911 and had attended all sixty-five dinners except five.  D. R. Cameron, who was a member of the board of education, had attended fifty dinners. Sitting at the speaker's table were:  John Williamson, president; Judge Ninian H. Welch, Dr. J. B. McFetrich, James A. Patten, Andrew McLeish, Dr. Frank Billings, J. Ogden Armour, Thomas Templeton, James B. Forgan, David R. Forgan, Samuel Insull, Oliver Sollitt, Julius Rosenwald, W. K. :Pattison, and Rev. James MacLagan.

Women were not permitted to attend the St. Andrew's Dinner until 1917.

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