Toronto, Hamilton & London, Society Blue Book - 1900
Toronto, Hamilton & London, Society Blue Book - 1900. Compiled and published by, Wm. Tyrrell & Co., Booksellers and Stationers of Toronto. This book describes itself as: "A reliable Directory to over 3,000 of the Elite Families of Toronto, Hamilton and London, alphabetically arranged, with much additional information regarding families, Club Membership, Summer Residences, Maiden Names, Receiving Days, and other items of social interest."
This book was published at the height of the Victorian society tradition of holding "At Homes" to receive callers and provided a ready reference by which a person's (or family's) position in "Society" could be ascertained. Today we would regard this as an ultimate expression of "snobbery" but at the time every wife who considered herself (or wanted to be considered) a member of "Polite Society" would be anxious to ensure the families particulars were correctly entered in this publication.
The Canadian perspective on what constituted the necessary qualification to be considered a part of "Society" was somewhat different to that generally accepted in Europe - where the custom originated - and is best explained in the publishers own words:
"In preparing for publication this first edition of Tyrrell's Society Blue Book, we have departed somewhat from the popular idea of what constitutes a Blue Book, and included many individuals who may not be strictly in Society. The entries in the Royal Blue Book in England include only those individuals who have been presented at Court, but with no such list to draw from in Canada we have included in this edition individuals who are prominent in the trades and professions as well as the leaders of Society, believing that such a list will be of greatest service to the greatest number.
It is our intention to improve each successive edition of this volume, making it a help to every hostess, and a necessity in every home.
We invite suggestions for the improvement of future editions and thank our numerous patrons who have so kindly furnished us with the information contained in these pages."
We are fortunate that the copy of the book we used to make this reproduction contained a "laid in" copy of the pro-forma supplied by Tyrrell for the purpose of making application to get an entry and so gaining the desirable status of being "in" Society.
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