Don’t Be Blue! Hamptons Blue Book to Return. But Not this Year

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Being socially conscious may be all the rage, as we’ll highlight in our forthcoming Philanthropy issue of AVENUE, but social climbing will never go out of style. Though it might be a bit trickier out in the Hamptons this summer.

A few weeks ago, AVENUE received a tip that The Blue Book of the Hamptons, the almost-century old social directory that highlights the who’s who of the upper crust, will cease publication for summer 2018.

The note read, in part:

It is with regret that we inform you of our decision to cancel publication of our Blue Book for 2018. We are reorganizing after the loss of our mentor Jody Donohue last year. She was an invaluable part of the post-production and a guiding force for us, as she was a guiding force for us all. It is our intention to regroup and publish in 2019 perhaps with new ownership. During this period our phone number will be suspended but our PO box will remain open.

The letter directed all questions to the Burner Law Group, where AVENUE was met with a “no comment,” a response that has defined the relationship between the press and The Blue Book in years past. But not in 2018. Current owner Etta Froio tells us that she suspects that whoever takes over intends to publish in 2019.

“We have some people bidding on it,” she says. “They’re coming close [to making a deal].”

Though Froio notes that some of the potential buyers have still expressed interest in putting the book out in time for Memorial Day Weekend 2018, “it’s difficult to get the book out quickly,” she says. Harkening back to its heyday, the information—which consists of the names of select East End residents, grouped by their towns, along with their summer and winter addresses, the names of their homes when relevant (Ms. Ann Crabtree of East Hampton resided at Dune Alpin Farm in 2002, for instance), their phone numbers, their club and school affiliations (“in the case of couples, the husband’s school and class precede the wife’s,” of course), and the names of their children and their schools—was collected via postal service. Those deemed ‘in’ were asked to fill out a notice of any changes to their entry, and Froio, Donahue and Donahue’s assistant would do the bulk of the compiling and following up.

Is the current hiatus a sign of the times? The Blue Book was true old Hamptons—a socially elite society where no one really talked about how socially elite they were. Now, how will Hamptonites know whom to call on for all-white parties? Who belongs to the Meadow Club? The Bathing Corp? The Georgica Association? Shinnecock Hills Golf Club? Have we really fallen from the Blue Book to Bumble Bizz to make our connections? From social registers to swiping?

Nonsense. Though some may suspect that the younger generation doesn’t care about these valued traditions any more, AVENUE has Google Analytics on our side. By far, our most widely read stories are our annually published A-Lists, confirming there will always be a fascination with the social elite and their rankings, whether you’re in or you’re not.

But apparently, you’ll have to wait until Summer 2019 to know who’s still who.


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