I gave the Book Thing a glancing blow between the local garden club's plant sale and lunch with my mother. As has been the case the past few months, the design/decorating shelves were pretty bare, except for a stack of old Architectural Digests, which don't hold up very well.
A spin by the mystery section landed me a couple of easy reads and the travel/geography section came up with a book on life on a small island off the coast of Maine. After trolling the biography section, and being knocked into several times by a woman with a cart for her books, I spotted "Once Upon a Time, A True Story by Gloria Vanderbilt". With all of the buzz about the room she helped create at the Kips Bay Show House this spring, I thought it would be interesting to read how she describes her first 17 years, which were quite tumultuous.
The most interesting find was the 1982 edition of the Social Register. Of course, the first thing I did was look up my family and there we were, listed at our old address. It's always funny to see how cryptic everything in there is, with lots of abbreviations of clubs and societies. Many cities, including Baltimore, used to have their own editions, but all of the cities were merged into one thick volume. Here's Brooke Astor's 1982 listing.
It takes sponsorship from five people currently listed to be reviewed for admission or a marriage to someone already listed. The section called "Married Maidens" lists women by their maiden names, and "Dilatory Domiciles" lists summer residences which came too late for the winter edition. Archaic, but fascinating.