The CLEVELAND BLUE BOOK is a locally produced version of the New York SOCIAL REGISTER, which at one time also published a Cleveland edition. The Cleveland Blue Book actually antedated New York's list of the social elite, having first appeared ca. 1880 as the Cleveland Social Directory. Published by Mrs. M. B. Haven, it described itself as "Ladies Visiting Lists and Shopping Guide" and took in families in nearby towns from Elyria to Youngstown. In 1900 the book's copyright was purchased by Helen DeKay Townsend (1859-1941), the society writer for the CLEVELAND LEADER and later for the CLEVELAND TOWN TOPICS. It acquired its name of Cleveland Blue Book from its traditional hardbound blue cover. Miss Townsend, a familiar fixture at Cleveland social functions with her white hair and ribboned pince-nez, published 10 editions of the Blue Book over the following 40 years. Though her register was regarded as being less exclusive than the one published out of New York, it tended to be far more arbitrary in its standards for inclusion. Prominent Clevelanders "dropped" at one time or another by Miss Townsend for what she regarded as unseemly behavior included DANIEL R. HANNA, S. Livingston Mather, and CYRUS EATON. Following the death of Miss Townsend, the Cleveland Blue Book was continued under a succession of different editors. Since 1980 it has been edited and published every other year by Peggy Wisner Meldrum. Included in the 482 pages of the 1988 edition were 246 pages of current listings, plus lists of maiden names, club memberships, and recent deaths.

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