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 Websters definition
of the Blue Book as "a book containing a list of fashionable
These slim volumes, published annually, were alphabetical listings
of those with "fashionable addresses." A typical entry
Bacon, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F.
(Louise W. Richards)
660 Elmgrove Avenue
Sum. Res.: Sunny Acres, Bristol, N. H.
Mr. Harvard 1900
Clubs, Mr. 21-22-84Mrs. 21-22
Mr. Charles F. Bacon, Jr.
Miss Catherine Bacon
Mr. George R. Bacon, 21-22
Mr. William Bacon
Under the couples name is listed the wifes maiden name;
their address; their summer residence; the husbands college
alma mater; the clubs to which they belong (in numerical code);
and their childrens 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
A scholar working on the Tirocchi material was able to use Blue
Books from the period to confirm that the Tirocchis 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 Womens
Club; Chopin Club; Daughters of the American Revolution; Economic
Club of Providence; Edgewood Womens 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
Laymans League; Warwick Country Club; Womens 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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