A bittersweet farewell to Frank M. Reid at Bethel AME
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Baltimore's 'Blue Book,' a relic of 19th-century elite, persists today

Baltimore's 'Blue Book,' a relic of 19th-century elite, persists today

With her 18th birthday approaching, it was nearly time for Margaret Van der Spiegel Penniman to make her debut in the adult world. Her mother went to the stationery store on Charles Street to register her debutante reception at the Engineers Club in the Baltimore Society Visiting List book.

"It was so people wouldn't plan a party and then discover that three other people had planned parties for the exact same day," said Penniman, 70, who lives in the Poplar Hill area of North Baltimore. "It was an organizational help to register the date."

When she made her debut in 1963, the Blue Book — so named for its dark blue cover — doubled as a...

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