The 2008 Social List

The 13th annual record of notably social personalities from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, business, philanthropy, and the arts.

By Kevin Chaffee

This roster is neither the first, nor will it (inevitably) be the last to single out certain individuals, who, by virtue of birth, rank, wealth or accomplishment, take part in the social life of the nation’s capital. Estimable precursors – drumroll here – include The Green Book,” so-called for its faux green suede cover, which has appeared continuously since 1930; and the Blue Book of Washington, D.C., which ceased publication around 1990 after a century in print. The Social Register, sometimes called the “Black Book,” also contains the names of numerous prominent local figures, many hailing from so-called “blue blood” families, although it merged its thin Washington volume into a much larger 12-city national version back in the 1980s.

A major difference separating Washington Life’s list from the others – apart from having no discernible color – is that we do not publish a “phone book” containing addresses and contact information, much less schools attended, club memberships and yacht listings. Ours is merely an alphabetical nomenclature of people who make a difference by adding immeasurably to their city, and by extension, their country and the world. Another point of contrast is size. Compared to the many thousands of entries contained in other directories past and present, WL’s Social List, currently about 700 names and counting, is relatively small. We do not see the need to include every member of the Congress, Cabinet or Court (i.e., Supreme), much less all those with top jobs listed in the “Plum Book” of political appointments.

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