The Providence Blue Book with Suburban Cities of 1932 was published by The Blue Books Company, "Publishers and compilers [of] directories of prominent people everywhere." The preface of the book stated that it was "not a city directory nor solely an elite register; nor do we pretend to pass upon the social or financial standing of the persons whose names are contained herein." Nevertheless, it functioned as a listing of the wealthy elite of a particular city, however the names within (or those omitted) may have been disputed. Perhaps the publishers were most candid when, also in the Preface, they cited Webster’s definition of the Blue Book as "a book containing a list of fashionable addresses."

These slim volumes, published annually, were alphabetical listings of those with "fashionable addresses." A typical entry was:

Bacon, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F.
(Louise W. Richards)
660 Elmgrove Avenue
Sum. Res.: Sunny Acres, Bristol, N. H.
Mr. Harvard 1900
Clubs, Mr. 21-22-84–Mrs. 21-22
Mr. Charles F. Bacon, Jr.
Miss Catherine Bacon
Mr. George R. Bacon, 21-22
Mr. William Bacon

Under the couple’s name is listed the wife’s maiden name; their address; their summer residence; the husband’s college alma mater; the clubs to which they belong (in numerical code); and their children’s names. A listing in the back of the book decoded the club list. If the husband or wife belonged to any out-of-town clubs, those would be listed separately.

Following this alphabetical listing, the book devoted a section to clubs and organizations, publishing the officers of each and the full membership list of some. The publishers of the Blue Book stated that it aimed "to present such personal information as may be found useful and needful" to members of such clubs and organizations and their friends, who could not possibly know everyone "in an area such as this book embraces."

Like City Directories, Blue Books are also snapshots of their day and place. Scholars find them very useful in confirming information about marriages and children and residences and organizational involvement. The books also lend insight into the social scene, confirming which clubs and organizations were most popular at a given time.

A scholar working on the Tirocchi material was able to use Blue Books from the period to confirm that the Tirocchi’s Providence clientele were interconnected by shared leisure and civic activities. In general, the clients and their husbands reported the largest number of memberships in elite social organizations such as the Agawam Hunt Club, the Rhode Island Country Club, and the East Side Skating Club. They also belonged to clubs devoted to intellectual and artistic pursuits, although still in an exclusive social context, such as the Rhode Island Historical Society, the Providence Art Club, and the Handicraft Club.

In addition to those already mentioned The Blue Books of the 1930s listed clubs and organizations as various as: Automobile Club of Rhode Island; British Empire Club; Catholic Women’s Club; Chopin Club; Daughters of the American Revolution; Economic Club of Providence; Edgewood Women’s Club; Hope Club; Junior League of Providence; Monday Morning Musical Club; Providence Engineering Society; Providence Medical Association; Saunderstown Yacht Club; South County Garden Club; Society of Mayflower Descendants; Unitarian Layman’s League; Warwick Country Club; Women’s Republican Club of Rhode Island; and the Associated Alumni of Brown University.

Many other groups were listed, too. It is easy to see from this list alone how valuable an analysis of the Blue Books can be in lending insight into the lives of the Tirocchi clients.

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   Sources and Methods
   The People
      Census Records
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      Social Directories
      Employee Records
      Investment Records
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You can see the results of research in the social directories in Susan Porter Benson's essay, "Clients and Craftswomen: The Pursuit of Elegance."