Friday, January 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022
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The New Social Register: The “A” List, Or Just A List?

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As you’ve heard, things aren’t going too well at the moment for the Dallas rich. Family fortunes are trickling away. There are no more of those wild black tie parties. But now, just in time to boost the spirits of our beleaguered upper crust, comes a new Dallas social register. For a reported $130 (but just $75 for those who are chosen to he in it), one may soon purchase the new Gold Book of Dallas, edited by former Dallas Morning News society editor Jane Wolfe, in which the most exclusive Dallas families, all of them just as rich as Midas, are listed in alphahetical order, along with the schools they went to, the clubs they belong to, and the kind of business they are in.

But the new register is already causing something of a stir. Dallas, as everybody who’s anybody should know, already has a social register, the Dallas Social Directory, published since 1970 by Ann Draper, another former Dallas newspaper society editor who runs Party Service {the party planning organization for the society crowd). Draper, a feisty woman who likes to say “Oh, hell” during interviews, charges just $45 for her biennial social directory, which she claims lists the most exclusive families. When informed that the Gold Book of Dallas promises to have more exclusive families than her book, she says, “Oh, hell, I’m not going to get into a shouting match with Jane Wolfe.”

Wolfe, who comes from one of Ohio’s most powerful families, will not comment about her new book. She says that the country’s best social registers are always compiled, in secrecy, with no explanation given as to why someone made the list or why someone else was left off. Frankly, she doesn’t want to go around promoting her book like it’s some Erma Bombeck bestseller. But it hasn’t been easy going for the new register queen. Wolfe started the project with her partner, former Park Cities People society columnist and former debutante Paige Nash, because they thought Draper listed, too many common folk. “Look at these people,” a well-heeled third-generation Dallasite once said, leafing through Draper’s directory. “They aren’t in society. Here’s someone listed who’s an educator. And here’s someone who’s in public relations. Now how does that make them society?” However, Nash and Wolfe didn’t fere much better on deciding who among the Dallas wealthy should belong on their list. Wolfe had her choices, and Nash had hers. Finally, after weeks of arguing, Nash stormed oui in a huff. She told one society columnist that if she had stayed on, she would have ended up with more enemies than friends.

And so, this fall, the Dallas rich will gel to see if they made the new social directory. No doubt, the Gold Book of Dallas could create a lot of talk-and controversy-in this status-conscious city. On the other hand, the book might sink without a ripple. The way the economy is going, there may not be anyone left who can afford to buy it.