Ronald and Nancy Reagan are in. Joan Kennedy is out. Betsy Bloomingdale is in. Henry Kissinger is in, but Jody Powell is out. David Stockman is in. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are out, but Robert Strauss is still in. David Brinkley, who was once out, is in. Sandra Day O'Connor is slightly in (as Supreme Court justice-designate), and socialite attorney Steve Martindale, after eight years, finally made it.
"He was never recommended before, believe it or not," said Jean Shaw Murray, editor of the 52nd annual Washington social directory, better known as the Green Book.
Between those kelly green pseudo-suede covers (hence the name) are 5,000 Washingtonians who comprise the political and social hierarchy in a town where you are where you eat.
"We're the only book in the world that offers a protocol service," says Shaw.
The Green Book, says Shaw, not only offers invaluable tips on what's correct when answering and issuing invitations, it also provides "a composite picture of Washington society."
Which is an annual rite for society watchers, who wait for the book each year, eagerly scanning the pages to see who's been left out.
Should you slit your throat if you've been dropped? "I don't think so," says Shaw. "I think being in the Green Book is certainly a status symbol, but it's only really important to those who are active in society."
This elite private club, made up of politicians, lawyers, businessmen, socialites and "people you find on charity committees," according to Shaw, were chosen this year by a secret committee of four. Last year the committee was five. Was one of the committee members dropped? "We don't always have the same number," says Shaw.
In order to be considered for the Green Book, one must be recommended by a listee. Then the potential Green Bookee must fill out a detailed questionnaire, revealing such accomplishments as children's schools, maisons secondaires (with names like "Sea Scape" and "Faircliffe") and country club memberships. Do potential listees ever fib?
"There's no way to check," says Shaw. "You have to trust people to a certain degree."
About 700 new listings appear in the 1982 edition, up from last year because of the new administration. Included this year are several members of "The Group," the close friends of the Reagans: Charles and Mary Jane Wick, Walter and Lee Annenberg, and Bendix vice president Nancy Reynolds. Besides Cabinet members and top presidential aides, also included this year is Rose Narva of the Jefferson Hotel, which housed many of the Republicans during the transition.
The number dropped from the social register this year was also larger, although Shaw is quick to point out that people are left off for many reasons. Death. Divorce. Moving away from Washington. Not answering the questionnaire in time. And of course, what Shaw calls "unpleasant notoriety: a messy divorce, indicted for fraud or this kind of thing."
Indeed, the names dropped from the Green Book are infinitely more interesting than the names included, and read like an encyclopedia of scandalous behavior. Among past dropees: former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas (1969), author Barbara Howar, broadcaster David Brinkley (during his divorce), former Madeira headmistress Jean Harris, practically all the president's men in 1973, former Carter chief of staff Hamilton Jordan, former Carter adviser Peter Bourne and Justice William O. Douglas after his third divorce and remarriage to his then-23-year-old bride Cathy.
Douglas greeted the social slight with a memorable comment. "I wasn't aware that I had ever been in it, so I don't see how I can miss being dropped by it," he said at the time. "What's the Green Book?"
Founded in 1930, the Green Book sells for $38 and has several thousand subscribers.
"There must be a need for it," says Shaw. "We wouldn't keep selling it if there weren't."