Monday, 7 July 2014

The Social Register

 Hôtel Ritz Paris 1898

My Great Uncle Harry developed Parkinson's Disease in his late 40's and it got so bad he could not work. His wife, my Great Aunt Bessie, had a job at the Ritz-Carleton Hotel in Montreal, where she worked her way up to Head Housekeeper. Montreal's was the first location to bear the name Ritz-Carleton. Some of the Ritz hotels, like the one in Boston, checked people out in the Social Register or Who's Who before permitting them to stay there.

The Blue Book or Social Register was on the desk of every socialite back in the day. There are different publication names, but all hold the names of only the prominent families.
The Social Registers sometimes give names of all family members, what days they are "receiving", and if the person is really "important" it gives a little biography.  Some have lists of marriages and deaths for the preceding year in the back of the books, as well as the names of the different elite clubs and societies of that city.

The Chicago Social and Club register is the first publication to recognize Chicago women and their achievements. It gives quite a bit of information about them, where they were born, the date of their marriage, what clubs they belong to etc...

For those in the UK you want the Peerage books, in 9 volumes, printed in 1812. The first edition was published about 1709.

The Canadian Who's Who is still being published, containing biographies of prominent Canadians, selected on merit alone. 

Relevant Links:

Dau's Society Blue Book for Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec

The Society Blue Book, Toronto 1902

The Society Blue Book, Toronto and Hamilton 1910

The Grand Rapides Society Blue Book

The Albany and Troy Society Blue Book 1917

The Indianapolis Blue Book

Social Register, Chicago 1908 (+others)

Chicago Social and Club Register

Social Register, Boston Vol 1 - 1901 (+others)

Social Register, New York Vol 1 - 1917

Social Register Locater 1916 

Social Register of Saint Joseph, Missouri 1903

Social Register of San Francisco 1919

San Francisco Blue Book and Club Directory 1927 (+others)

The North Shore blue book andsocial register, Vol 19 (1915) - Containing lists of the summer residents of the principal resorts along the North Shore from Nahant to Rockport

Other Social Registers listed at Hathi Trust website, including New Orleans

Who's Who in America Vol 2: 1901-1902

Collins's Peerage of England; Vol 1 (of 9) Printed 1812

Collins's Peerage of England - others listed

Lain & Healy's Elite Directory of Brooklyn. 1877

Royal Blue Book and Court Guide - London 1911

Boyle's fashionable court & country guide, and town visitingdirectory: London 1903

The List ; a visiting and shopping directory of New York City for the Season of 1886

Thom's Irish Who's Who 1923

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