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=253. What Society News Is
The society editor's work concerns itself
with the social and personal news of the city and county in which the
paper is published or from which it draws its patronage. It is almost
entirely local, news of the state or of other cities being of value only
in so far as it affects women and men of one's own town through former
exchanges of courtesy or hospitality, or for similar causes. Nor does it
concern itself with the unconventional, the abnormal. Elopements,
clandestine marriages, unusual engagements, freakish parties, and
similar extraordinary social and personal news do not come within the
sphere of the society editor, but take regular, and usually prominent,
places in the news columns.

=254. Difficulty
The society editor's work is with the conventional
in the local fashionable world, and for this reason probably no other
kind of news demands so consistent care, discrimination, and habitual
restraint. She--the society editor is practically always a woman--must
recognize readily relative social distinctions, to know what names and
functions to feature in her column or section, and to be able to present
the details of those functions acceptably to the various social groups
about which and for which she is writing. The latter requisite in
particular is difficult. For in attempting to give appreciative accounts
of weddings, dances, receptions, she is liable to overstep the narrow
limits of conventional usage and make herself ridiculous by extravagance
of statement; or else, in trying to avoid unnecessary display of
enthusiasm, she is led into use of trite, colorless words and stock
phrases. She must by all means take care not to say that "the handsome
groom wearing the conventional black and the lovely bride arrayed in a
charming creation of white satin consummated their sacred nuptial vows
amid banks of fragrant lilies and beautiful, blushing roses to the
melodious strains of Mendelssohn's entrancing wedding march."

The following stories of engagements, weddings,
dinners, dances, receptions, club meetings, and charity benefits have
been selected at random to show the accepted methods of handling society
write-ups. At the end are added a few personal items--personals, they
are generally termed--and a single "society review." The restraint and
dignity of tone of the stories are worth close study.


Mr. and Mrs. George A. Stewart, of 311 North
Parkside Avenue, announce the engagement of their
daughter, Gladys, to Charles M. Sailor, a son of Mr.
and Mrs. Samuel Sailor, of 25 South Central

The first debutante of the season to become engaged
is Miss Bessie Allen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
George Osborne Allen, whose engagement to Harry O.
Best was announced Saturday. Mr. Best is a son of
Mr. and Mrs. George R. Best, of 131 East
Fifty-fourth street. He was graduated from Harvard
in 1913 and is a member of the Knickerbocker Club of
this city, and also of the Balustrol Golf Club. He
is a member of the firm of Best and Flom, 136 Walker
Street. Mr. Best is the third in direct line to bear
his name, being a grandson of the late George R.
Best, one of the most noted architects of this city.
The wedding will take place in the spring.


In the Church of the Heavenly Rest on Tuesday
afternoon at 3:30 will be celebrated the wedding of
Miss Doris Ryer, daughter of Mrs. Fletcher Ryer of
San Francisco, Cal., to Stanhope Wood Nixon, son of
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Nixon. The wedding ceremony will
be witnessed by a large number of relatives and
friends from California and several of the principal
Eastern cities where the families of both the bride
and her fiance are prominent.

Gov. Charles S. Whitman is to act as Miss Ryer's
sponsor and will give her away. Miss Phyllis de
Young, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael H. de Young
of San Francisco, will be the maid of honor and the
bridesmaids will be the Misses Pauline Disston of
Philadelphia, Ray Slater of Boston, Mary Moreland of
Pittsburg, Elizabeth Sands of Newport, Frances Moore
of Washington, and Helen Flake of this city.

Walbridge S. Taft will be the best man. The ushers
will be Henry S. Ladew, Patrick Calhoun, Henry
Rogers Benjamin, Ammi Wright Lancashire, Esmond P.
O'Brien and Hugh D. Cotton.

Following the wedding ceremony there will be a
reception in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton. The
engagement of Miss Ryer and Mr. Nixon was announced
last autumn. The bride-to-be has passed the greater
part of the last two winters in New York with her
mother and during the summer season has been
identified with the colony in Newport, R. I.[38]

[38] New York Sun, January 21, 1917.


Miss Celia Cravis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Myer
Cravis, of 1817 North Thirty-second Street, became
the bride of Harry Cassman, of Atlantic City,
Thursday. The ceremony was performed at 6:30 o'clock
in the evening in the green room of the Adelphi
Hotel by the Rev. Marvin Nathan, assisted by the
Rev. Armin Rosenberg.

The father of the bride gave her in marriage. Her
gown of white satin was given a frosted effect by
crystal bead embroidery and was made with court
train. Her tulle veil was held by a bandeau of
lilies of the valley. A white prayer book was
carried and also a bouquet of orchids, gardenias and
lilies of the valley.

The maid of honor was Miss Katherine Abrahams,
wearing blue satin trimmed with silver. She carried
a double shower bouquet of tea roses and lilies of
the valley, and a yellow ostrich feather fan, the
gift of the bride.

The bridesmaids, Miss Estelle Freeman, Miss Tillie
Greenhouse, Miss Estelle Sacks and Miss Leonore
Printz, were dressed in frocks of different pastel
shades, ranging white, pink, blue and violet. Each
carried a basket of roses and a pink feather fan.
Miss Madeline Cravis and Miss Sylvia Gravan, the
flower girls, wore pink and carried baskets of pink

Herbert W. Salus acted as best man. The ushers were
Lewis E. Stern and Walter Hanstein, of Atlantic
City; I. S. Cravis and Henry Gotlieb.

A reception for about 250 guests followed the
ceremony. After a tour of the South, Mr. and Mrs.
Cassman will be at 217 South Seaside Avenue,
Atlantic City.[39]

[39] Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 17, 1916.


Miss Alice Williams, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward
T. Williams, was presented to society yesterday
afternoon at a tea in the home of her parents, 1901
Eighteenth Street. Miss Williams was born in
Shanghai, China, during her father's connection with
the United States legation there, and she has lived
most of her life in the Orient. Mr. Williams was
charge d'affaires of the United States at the time
of the recognition of the new Chinese republic. At
the time of the outbreak of the war in Europe Miss
Williams was a student in Paris. Mr. Williams is now
the head of the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs in the
State Department.

Mrs. Williams presented her daughter, with no
assistants save three of her daughter's young
friends, Miss Helen Miller, Miss Virginia Puller and
Miss Ethel Christiensen, who presided in the dining
room. The drawing room and dining room were both
transformed into bowers of blossoms, sent to the
debutante, which were charmingly arranged. Mrs.
Miller wore a graceful gown of black net and lace
over black satin. The debutante wore a becoming
costume of rose silk and silver trimming and carried
sweet peas a portion of the afternoon, and the bunch
of roses sent by Mrs. Lansing, wife of the Secretary
of State, the rest of the time. Miss Miller and Miss
Christiensen were each in white net and tulle and
Miss Puller wore blue and white.[40]

[40] Washington Post, November 26, 1916.

Mrs. Fred Enderly, who has recently returned after a
long absence in the East, was specially honored with
a Halloween birthday dinner given by Mrs. Lottie
Logan, of No. 1532 Ingraham Street Tuesday evening.
The table was in yellow, with a floral center of
chrysanthemums and favors of black cats, diminutive
pumpkin people and other suggestive Halloween
conceits. The guests were whisked up to the
dressing-rooms by a witch, and Mrs. George H.
Rector, attired in somber soothsayer's robes, told
fortunes. Place-cards were written for Mr. and Mrs.
Enderly, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Hart, Mr. and Mrs.
George Rector, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Henderson, Mr. and
Mrs. George McDaniel, Mrs. Fred Detmer, Miss
Wilhelmina Rector, Miss Talcot, Messrs. Mark Ellis,
Jack Bushnell, L. D. Maescher and O. H. Logan.[41]

[41] Los Angeles Times, November 5, 1916.


Mr. and Mrs. Henry V. Black of Broadway, Irvington,
gave a reception this afternoon for their debutante
daughter, Miss Latjerome Black. Receiving with Mrs.
Black were Mrs. P. F. Llewellyn Chambers, Mrs.
Frederick Sayles, Mrs. Charles Coombs, Mrs. Benjamin
Prince, Mrs. Theodosia Bailey, Mrs. Charles Hope,
Miss Caramai Carroll, Miss Dorothy Brown, Mrs.
Robert C. Black and Miss Dorothy Black. Receiving
with Miss Black were the Misses Marion Townsend,
Helen Sayles, Dorothy Clifford, Marion Becker, Helen
Geer, and Genevieve Clendenin. Miss Black wore a
dress of white silk embroidery and pink roses. The
decorations were of autumn leaves and

Among the guests were Dr. and Mrs. Albert Shaw, Mrs.
Edwin Gould, Mrs. Howard Carroll, Mrs. Finley J.
Shepard, Miss Anne Depew Paulding, Mrs. William
Carter, Miss Millette, Mrs. John Luke, Mrs. Adam
Luke, Mrs. H. D. Eastabrook, Mrs. John D. Archbold,
Mrs. Henry Graves, and Dr. and Mrs. D. Russell.[42]

[42] New York Sun, September 24, 1915.


Elaboration of detail marked the oriental ball given
by the Sierra Madre Club at its rooms in the
Investment Building last evening. More than 400
members and guests attended in garb of the Far
East--costumes whose values ran far into the
hundreds. The club rooms were draped in a
bewildering manner with tapestry of the Celestial
Empire and the land of Nippon, and the rugs of
Turkey and Arabia.

It was a most colorful event--sultans robed in many
colors with bejeweled turbans; Chinese mandarins in
long flowing coats; bearded Moors, who danced with
Geisha girls of Japan, gowned in multi-colored
silken kimonos; petite China maids in silken
pantaloons and bobtailed jackets; Salome dancers of
the East, in baggy bloomers and jeweled corsages,
and harem houris in dazzling draperies.

Preceding the dancing, a remarkable dinner,
featuring the choicest foods of the Orient, was
served by attendants wearing the dress of Chinese
coolies. The rare old syrups of the Orient were
enjoyed by the diners, while the fragrant odor of
burning incense lent an air of subtle mysticism.

Among the 400 guests present were:[43]

[43] Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1917.


At this week's meeting of the New England Women's
Press Association, Miss Helen M. Winslow, chairman
of the programme committee, presented Joseph Edgar
Chamberlin of The Transcript, who spoke on "The
Work of Women in Journalism." Mr. Chamberlin gave
many personal reminiscences of women writers whom he
had known in his connection with various
publications. He expressed regret that women are not
doing more in editorial work, as in the earlier
years of their entrance into the newspaper field,
and the belief that it would be of advantage to
journalism and to the public if they gave more
attention to writing of this character rather than
that directed almost exclusively for women's
departments and others of superficial value. Mr.
Chamberlin paid especial compliment to the work of
Margaret Buchanan Sullivan, Jeannette Gilder, Jennie
June Croly and Kate Field. Mr. Chamberlin spoke in
high praise of Miss Cornelia M. Walter (afterward
Mrs. W. B. Richards) who was editor-in-chief and had
full charge of The Transcript from 1842 to 1847.
The executive board voted to co-operate with the
Travelers' Aid Society and Mrs. Ralph M. Kirtland
was elected chairman of the committee to formulate

[44] Boston Transcript, December 9, 1916.


On Thursday afternoon at 4 o'clock Mrs. W. K.
Vanderbilt of 660 Fifth Avenue will open her house
for a benefit entertainment in aid of the Appuiaux
Artistes of France. Viscountess de Rancougne is to
give her talk on the work being done in the French
and Belgian hospitals and in the bombarded towns and
villages, illustrated with colored slides from
photographs taken by herself. An interesting musical
program also has been arranged for the afternoon,
with Miss Callish, Mr. de Warlich, and Carlos
Salzedo appearing. Mrs. Kenneth Frazier of 58 East
Seventy-eighth Street is receiving applications for
tickets at $5 each. On the Executive Committee are
Kenneth Frazier, Ernest Peixotto, Edwin H.
Blashfield, Charles Dana Gibson, Joseph H. Hunt, and
Janet Scudder. Mrs. W. Bourke Cockran, Mrs. Howard
Cushing, Mrs. E. H. Harriman, Mrs. Philip M. Lydig,
Mrs. H. P. Whitney, and Miss Grace Bigelow make up
the committee in charge.[45]

[45] New York Times, February 20, 1916.


Mrs. Robert R. Livingston and her son, Robert R.
Livingston, have returned from a trip to the Pacific
Coast and are at their town house, 11 Washington
Square North, until they open Northwood, the
Livingston estate near Cheviot-on-Hudson. They spent
about six weeks on the coast.

Mr. and Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin will return to their
country place at Glen Head, L. I., late in April for
the early summer. They are now occupying Hopelands,
their place at Aiken, S. C.

Mrs. and Mr. Francis de R. Wissmann have returned
from a trip of some weeks to San Francisco and have
been at the Gotham for a few days before opening
Adelslea at Throgs Neck, Westchester, for the

The Rev. Dr. J. Nevett Steele of 122 West
Seventy-sixth Street, vicar of St. Paul's Chapel,
who has been ill with pneumonia since March 13, is
now convalescing and will soon be able to resume his
church duties.

A son was born yesterday to Mr. and Mrs. Theodore
Roosevelt, Jr., at their home, 165 East
Seventy-fourth Street. The child is a grandson of
Col. Theodore Roosevelt and will be named Cornelius
Van Schaick Roosevelt, after his
great-great-grandfather. This is the third child of
Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt. Their first boy, Theodore
Roosevelt, III, was born June 14, 1914. Mrs.
Roosevelt was Miss Eleanor B. Alexander, daughter of
Mrs. Henry Addison Alexander of 1840 Park Avenue.


Never has a Washington season begun so early as this
one. The middle of December finds the White House
dinners in full sway, the President and Mrs. Wilson
having dined with the Vice President and Mrs.
Marshall, and the first state reception of the
season in the White House due in two days.

President and Mrs. Wilson already have had three
large and formal dinner parties, the first one on
December 7, in honor of Mr. Vance McCormick,
chairman of the Democratic national committee; and
on Tuesday of last week they entertained the Vice
President and the members of the cabinet and their
wives, with a number of other distinguished guests
and a few young people. After this dinner a
programme of music was given in the east room and
the evening was a charming success. The First Lady
of the Land never was more lovely than she was on
this occasion. The President's niece, Miss Alice
Wilson, of Baltimore, came over with her father for
the evening. Miss Nataline Dulles, niece of Mrs.
Lansing, made her first appearance at a state
dinner, and Miss Margaret Wilson and Miss Bones were
among the guests. On Thursday evening the visiting
governors, former governors and governors-elect here
for the conference this week, and their wives, were
dined, with an interesting company. Friday evening
the Vice President and Mrs. Marshall gave their
annual dinner to the President and his wife, and had
a senatorial company to meet them.

The debutantes are in the full splendor of their
glory, and the next three weeks will give them a
supreme test of endurance, for luncheons, teas,
dinners and dances not only follow one another
closely, but pile up, with several in a day and not
one to be neglected. There are no diplomatic buds,
no cabinet buds, and few army, navy and
congressional buds. But it is a strong residential
year, with a number of debutantes in the smartest
and most exclusive of the substantial old families.
During the Christmas holidays the buds of the
future, some of a year hence, others of two years,
are vying with the older girls for busy days, and
the social calendar shows scarcely a resting moment
from the day they come home from school until they
rush back to their studies in time to reach the
first recitation class. And as for beauty sleep,
there will be none. There will not be a night during
the Christmas vacation when this younger set will
not be dancing. Time was when dinner parties were
composed of elderly, or at least middle-aged, people
only, but now even the near-debutantes and their
circle have a steady round of "dining out," with no
fear of being considered "along in years," for there
are dinners for all ages.

Washington has given three of her most
distinguished, most beautiful and most popular girls
to foreign lands within two months, two of them
having become princesses and the third a baroness.
The first to wed was Miss Margaret Draper, heiress
to several millions of her father's estate. She is
now Princess Boncompagni of Rome, and her mother is
now just about joining her and the prince in Paris,
the three to proceed to the prince's home in Rome,
where they will spend Christmas together, after
which the prince will return to duty with his

The second of these brides of foreigners was Miss
Catherine Birney, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs.
Theodore V. Birney, who was married December 2 to
Baron von Schoen, of the German embassy staff, and
is just back now from the wedding trip. They
returned for the marriage of Miss Catherine Britton
to the Prince zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfuerst, of the
Austro-Hungarian embassy staff. Baron and Baroness
von Schoen will spend Christmas with the latter's
sister, with whom she has made her home since the
death of her parents, and then they will proceed to
Mexico, whence the baron has been transferred.

The marriage of Miss Britton and Prince zu Hohenlohe
was not unexpected, but the wedding date was hurried
about three months, the prince becoming an impatient
wooer. He was assigned to duty at the
Austro-Hungarian consulate in the summer and agreed
to remain away for a year. He stood it as long as he
could, and then returned to claim his bride. The
consent of the prince's family has not been
forthcoming, but the marriage has the sanction of
the embassy, presumably by order of the new emperor,
and it was a happy wedding scene. The bride is one
of the famous beauties of Washington society. She
was never lovelier than in her singularly simple
wedding gown of satin with pearl trimmings, tulle
sleeves, and enormous wedding veil.

Society is dancing its way through the season. The
fever is making inroads even upon the incessant
auction-bridge playing, and he or she who neither
dances nor plays auction has a dull time of it.
Washington society is rather methodical in its
dancing. Monday nights are given up to the
subscription dances at the Playhouse, and another
set at the Willard. Tuesday night the army dances
are given at the Playhouse. On Wednesdays are the
regular Chevy Chase Club dinner dances, and on
Thursdays are those at the Navy Club. On Friday
nights, beginning on January 5, will be the ten
subscription dances at the Willard, and on Saturday
nights there are dances everywhere. The private
dances are scattered all through, afternoons and
evenings, until there is scarcely a date left vacant
on the calendar until Ash Wednesday.[46]

[46] Washington Post, December 17, 1916.

=256. Clubs
The particular attention of the prospective society
editor may be called to club news. The work in literature, education,
community betterment, general social relief, and kindred subjects now
being undertaken by women's clubs is sometimes phenomenal and offers to
live society editors a vast undeveloped field for constructive news. Too
frequently the society page is filled with dull six-point routine,
forbidding in style and still more forbidding in content, when it might
be made alive with buoyancy and interest by added attention to new
studies and interests in the women's clubs. What the women are doing in
their study of the garbage question, in their campaigns against flies,
in their efforts to provide comforts for unprivileged slum
children,--such topics, properly featured and given attractive
individual heads, may be made interesting to a large percentage of the
intelligent women in the community and may be made instrumental in
building up a strong, constructive department in the paper.

=257. Typographical Style
The prospective society editor will find it
well, however, to study and to follow at first the typographical style
of the society column in her paper. Some newspapers run each wedding,
engagement, or social affair under a separate head. Others group all
society stories under the general head of Society, indicating the
different social functions, no matter how long the write-ups, only by
new paragraphs. Sometimes this necessitates paragraphs a half-column
long. In preparing lists of names in society reports, the editor should
group like names and titles together. That is, she should group together
the married couples, then the married women whose names appear alone,
then the unmarried women, and finally the men. An illustration is the

Among the several hundred guests were Mr. and Mrs.
S. Bryce Wing, Mr. and Mrs. Felix D. Doubleday, Mr.
and Mrs. Lewis Gouvernour Morris....

Among the debutantes and other young women present
were Misses Gretchen Blaine Damrosch, Priscilla
Peabody, Irene Langhorne Gibson, Rosalie G.

The young men present included Messrs. Lester
Armour, Edward M. McIlvaine, Jr., Edgar Allan Poe,
William Carrington Stettinius, Nelson Doubleday,
Herbert Pulitzer....

=258. Spurious Announcements
A word may be said in conclusion about
getting society news. One of the first precautions to a prospective
society editor is not to accept announcements of engagements,
marriages, and births of children from any others than the immediate
persons concerned. In particular, one should beware of such news given
by telephone. Too many so-called practical jokes are attempted in this
way on sensitive lovers and young married couples. Many newspapers have
printed forms for announcements of engagements and weddings. These are
mailed directly to the families concerned and require their signatures.

=259. Sources for Society News
In cases of important news, such as
weddings and charity benefits, the editor generally has little
difficulty in obtaining all the facts needed. Some social leaders are
naturally good about giving one details of their parties. Others,
however, shun publicity even to the extent of denying prospective
luncheons, dinners, and card parties--particularly if they are
small--after all plans have been made, and the details may be had only
after they know the reporter has definite facts. To get these first
facts is often one's hardest task. Frequently one can acquire the
friendly acquaintance of some one in society who likes to have her name
appear with the real leaders. Men, too,--even husbands,--often are not
so reticent about their immediate social affairs and are glad to give
pretty society editors advance tips of coming events. But the best
sources are the caterers, the florists, and the hair-dressing parlors.
The caterers are engaged weeks in advance. The florists provide the
decorations. And the hair-dressing parlors are hotbeds of gossip. By
visiting or calling regularly at these places one generally can keep
abreast of all the society news in town. But always when getting news
from such sources--or from any other for that matter--one must be sure
of the absolute accuracy of all addresses, names, and initials. If one
is not careful,--well, only one who has seen an irate mother talk to the
city editor before the ink on the home edition is dry can appreciate the
trouble that will probably result.

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