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The Social Register: "Where 'Best Society' Lives and Plays, Part III"

Society in the Summer July 15, 1906 (1)

Some interesting facts concerning the recreations of society folk are revealed in the Summer Social Register, just published. The families listed include those prominent in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Providence, St. Louis, Pittsburg, San Francisco, Baltimore, Buffalo, and various Southern cities. The Register also gives the foreign and yacht addresses of many persons. The new book shows that this year there are 3,510 seashore residents among the families listed. Last year there were 2,260. According to the Register, the inland dwellers are still in the ascendancy.

Of the 3,510 persons residing by the sea, 326 are at Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor, 1,140 at New England seacoast resorts, 292 spend the Summer at Newport and Jamestown. One hundred and sixty-five families will spend the hot months on their yachts, and 1,335 families are abroad.

The Register records the deaths of 116 women among those listed last year. Among the men 173 have died since April. There have been 586 marriages since the first of April.

A "Locater" For Society July 17, 1907 (2)

To facilitate the finding of members of families mentioned in the series of Social Registers, published by the Social Register Association of 20 Broadway, that association has issued a new publication known as the "Social Register Locater." In it appear the names of all those contained in any of its twenty registers, with the city to which they belong appended.

Thus, W.K. Vanderbilt is recorded as belonging to New York, while George W. Vanderbilt is set down as being recorded not only in New York, but in the Washington and North Carolina registers as well. Altogether, 84,500 names are included in the Locater, and the task of anyone who wishes to trace the members of a family throughout the United States is made easy.

From the publication some curious and interesting information may be gleaned. Thus, Boston acquires a new claim to fame in being without a Smith or a Brown in its society. St. Louis betrays its French origin by such distinctive surnames as Garesche and Cabanne.

New York easily leads in its number of old Dutch families. It has 234 surnames beginning with Van to the 18 of San Francisco, the 15 of Philadelphia, and the 12 of Washington.

The Social Centre December 13, 1907 (3)

No clearer proof of the mutability of New York fashionable society is required than the fact newly set forth in its oracle, the "Social Register," that its geographical centre is now at Fifth Avenue and Sixty-second street. The time will soon pass when the social position of a family can ever be satisfactorily determined by the neighborhood in which it dwells. That is so now only to a very limited extent.

Society cannot extend its domain much further northward on Fifth Avenue. There are impassable barriers, and we are not referring to the decent neighborhood of Mount Morris Park, which can always be quietly ignored, and might even be eliminated, or to the apartment houses further up the street, or even to the Harlem River and its flats. Society has the means to overcome any obstacle not protected by its own weapons, to wit, dollars.

The geographical extension cannot be eastward either, while Central Park blocks western extension. The socially influential may in time go southward and reclaim old neighborhoods, but there will never be a general movement in that direction, and the town house, as a symbol of social rank, will soon be a negligible quantity. Already there are recognized leaders of our later Society who have no town houses.

The recent changes in the parterre of the Metropolitan Opera House also indicate the changes in our society. There are many new names on the list of box occupants, many more than in any previous year. The fact is that society, in all its more public manifestations, has long been giving way to an aristocracy of wealth, the personnel of which cannot be regulated by any sort of censorship.

Social Register Statistics: Centre of Fashionable Population Remains at 62d Street and Fifth Avenue. December 10, 1909 (4)

The New York Social Register for 1910 has just been issued. It has been customary for the Social Register every two years since 1890, when the centre was fixed at Thirty-ninth Street, to ascertain the centre of population of the residences of the prominent families in New York City, and until 1902 the rate of progress has uniformly advanced northward about one block, or 200 feet, per year. After 1902 the rate suddenly increased to 300 feet per year, and the centre was located in December, 1905, at Fifty-eighth Street and Fifth Avenue. In 1908 it increased even more rapidly, and was found to have jumped to Sixty-second Street, a few feet east of Fifth Avenue, or at the rate of two blocks per annum.

Upon applying the same test this year the growth has been found for the first time to have been arrested, and remains at Sixty-second Street, moving east about half a block toward Madison Avenue. This arresting of the northward progress can be largely accounted for by the tendency of families to reside in hotels and apartments, and to the fact that while in previous years families, moving from the lower part of the city, scattered themselves more or less at the distant upper points on the east and west side, they seem now to have concentrated within the narrow territory in the upper fifties and sixties between Madison Avenue and as far East as Third Avenue, where the old-fashioned 18 and 20 foot residences have been remodeled into modern dwellings, 27 per cent of the total residences in the Social Register being found located between Fifty-first, Street and Sixty-second Street, from Lexington Avenue to Eighth Avenue.

As a further retarding effect to the growth northward it may be noted that the families occupying old-fashioned residences in Washington Square and apartments in Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Streets, within an area of four blocks, totaling 334, balance all the residences from Eighty-eighth Street to 196th Street.

By referring back to the association's statistics of some four years ago, when the centre of fashionable population was at Fifty-eighth Street, it was predicted the centre would for a long time remain at the Plaza, owing to the barrier presented by Central Park as an obstacle to intercourse between the east and the west side of the city.

Comparing the east with the west, while two years ago there were 10 per cent. more residences on the east side of Fifth Avenue than on the west, there are now just 15 per cent, more on the east side.

About 70 per cent. of the families in the Social Register are residing on Manhattan Island, about 23 per cent. are in the suburbs, 1,170 families are west of the Hudson, of which New Jersey claims 923: 552 families to the east in Long Island and 871 families to the north, including Westchester County and Connecticut.

During the year 654 persons were married as compared to 662 last year, and there are noted the deaths of 221 women and 291 men, as compared to the deaths of 208 women and 249 men last year, a considerable increase in the mortality.


Article Information:
Article Name: The Social Register: "Where 'Best Society' Lives and Plays, Part III"
Website: http:www.thehistorybox.com |Researcher/Transcriber:    Miriam Medina
Source:      #'s 1-4  New York Times
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