Understated civility, conviviality, prominence, and stability is who we are.
The origins of the Association are to be found in 19th-century visiting lists. These were the names and addresses of the social contacts of prominent families, alphabetically arranged. In 1886, Louis Keller, described in his obituary as “known to more persons here and abroad than any other one resident of New York,” had the idea of consolidating the most important of these lists. His compilation was composed primarily of descendants of the early Dutch and English settlers of his city as well as others intrinsic to the Association’s definition of Society.
Mr. Keller’s formula met with great success and by 1918 there were 18 annual Social Register volumes representing 26 cities. Individual city books were published annually until 1976, when they were consolidated into a single definitive book listing the nation's foremost families.
Today, almost 25,000 entries are included in the winter edition of the Social Register, published by the Association every November. These listings, which are primarily domestic but include international references as well, record the following:
Family names and addresses and contact information of Social Register members
Membership in clubs and societies affiliated with the Social Register
Notices of the births, marriages and deaths of those listed as they occur
The summer edition titled Directory & Observer is published in May and contains seasonal contact information as well as “Dilatory Domiciles”, a list of new members, a list of yachts and their owners. This publication, like the winter Observer periodical, also includes a variety of articles written by our writers and editors, as well as Social Register members.
In May 1994 the Social Register introduced the Social Register Observer. This periodical offers coverage of material, such as obituaries, debutants and engagements, which may not be readily available from other sources. It also includes interesting articles usually by or about Social Register members. It is published twice a year, concurrently with the winter and summer editions of the Social Register, as a separate volume in the winter, and bound together with the Directory in the summer.
In November 2015, the Association reintroduced the Locator, which had ceased publication when the individual city books were combined into a single volume. When used in conjunction with the Social Register, the Locator allows members to easily connect with each other wherever they live or happen to find themselves.
Since its inception, the Social Register has been the only reliable, and the most trusted, arbiter of Society in America.
Annual membership includes all of these publications.
ROBB REPORT recently published an article on the Social Register titled “Socially Active.” SR members approve the new enhancements to our organization and its publications, and reflect on our long history of fostering understated civility, conviviality, prominence, and stability. The Article may be viewed here.