The Social Register Association Summer Soiree!



By Brian D. White




“The Host Committee for the recent Social Register Soiree in Chicago”

The Social Register Association has once again reaffirmed the “Social” in the Association by hosting ANOTHER fabulous, fun party in Chicago recently at the Helen and Bryan Lathrop House—home to one of Chicago’s first private clubs. Titled “Summer Awakens and the Limoncello Blooms!,” this party, organized by Event Chairman Brian D. White with a formidable Host Committee including Ann & Bill Hamm, James M. Kinney, Tom & Elaine Cooney, Carole Barthel & Charles Norton, Laura & Larry Ekstrom, Karl Grabbi, Annie Hambleton, Ed & Kate Rutledge, John & Amanda Rutledge, Pat Schenk, Pauline Sheehan, Peggy Snorf, Rick & Nancy Spain, Oscar Tatosian, Tony Ward & Alicia Cressey, and Karen Zupko & Mike McCahon was not to be missed!

(L to R) Alexandre Gaudieri, Annie Hambleton, Hope Hambleton and Schuyler Saran

(L to R) Kate Rutledge, Chris LeGros, Andrew LeGros and Edward K. Rutledge

(L to R) Sa & Remi Louvot and Lyndsay Pond White

(L to R) Alicia Cressey & Tony Ward, Karl H. Grabbi and Mark F. Saran

As members and guests hailing from Chicago and across the country (St. Louis, DC, PB, NYC, Cincinnati, Dayton, etc.) ascended the staircase of this magnificent mansion in the historic Gold Coast neighborhood, they were welcomed by members of the Host Committee, were offered the evening’s signature cocktail—a “Limoncello Spritz”— to set the tone, and were handed the coveted “SR Needlepoint Key Fob” as a party gift upon arrival. Music, including tunes from Dean Martin’s “Volare,” Renato Carosone’s “Tu Vuò Fà L’Americano,” and ending with current hits, lent a festive air to this Amalfi Coast-themed party right out of a glamorous movie!

( L to R) Daniel J. Bender, Lynn & John Wirtz and John Fletcher

(L to R) Pauline Sheehan, Karen Zupko and Heather Wright

(L to R) John W. Rutledge, Cynthia Olson with Joanne & Frank Schell

Lissie Cortes

As over 150 guests mingled and new friendships formed, the Host Committee focused on making introductions among old and new members throughout the night.  One guest exclaimed, “I’ve never met so many nice people at one party in my life!” Pauline Sheehan observed, “The party captured the essence of legendary society photographer Slim Aarons’ motto: ‘Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.’”  While another partygoer happily remarked, “I’ve been a member for years and have never been so impressed with what the Social Register has become!”

Members listening to Christopher R. Wolf giving a brief update on SRA global happenings

(L to R) William & Ann Hamm, James M. Kinney, Lise Honore Wolf & (SRA Chairman) Christopher R. Wolf with (Event Chairman) Brian D. White

(L to R) Todd D. H. Schwebel, Pati Heestand and Kate Arias

The gorgeous flowers done by Winnetka-based florist Bespoke Floral Décor (owners Terri Lorenz & Kirsten Rider), which included fragrant white Duchess de Nemours peonies, white snowflake spray roses, white hydrangeas, white snapdragons, Orlaya, and yellow goldenrods, along with fresh lemons, were a stunning complement to the seasonal affair. 

The hors d’oeuvres, consisting of salmon tartare cornets, beef carpaccio, duck confit tostadas, vegetarian arancini, shrimp cocktail, bacon-wrapped dates, and artichoke and kalamata olive flatbreads, were some of the best of any club in the city.

(L to R) Ron & Julie Allen

(L to R) Ellie Sethness Walcher & John Walcher

(L to R) Mark & Schuyler Saran

Halfway through the party, Social Register Association Chairman Christopher R. Wolf welcomed members from near and far, thanked the Host Committee and sponsors, and gave a brief update on SRA global happenings. From new domestic and international reciprocal clubs (Philadelphia, Bermuda, and Rome, to name just a few!), lively parties and exclusive events, and a flourishing membership with members sponsoring their children and friends for inclusion, the Social Register is jumping into summer with exciting offerings for its entire membership. Mr. Wolf then turned over his introduction to the Club President for remarks about the history of the club. Delightfully, the Club President shared that many of its illustrious founding members were also members of the SRA.

Founded in 1886, the Social Register Association is a prestigious private social association whose engaged membership from across the United States and internationally form a convivial organization enjoying access to premiere reciprocal clubs, a curated program of events and gatherings, access to its distinguished publications, and social connections both at home and abroad, among other benefits.

In 2017, Classic Chicago wrote that the SRA, “the only national social association, is as relevant today as it was at its founding 130 years ago” (Judy Bross). While the Social Register Association is best known for its social happenings and esteemed membership, its foundation, the Social Register Foundation, is also working toward the laudable aim of preserving its extensive historical archives, which include family histories, cultural ephemera, and notable correspondences. All this to say: the Social Register Association has been keeping busy!

(L to R) David & Kellie Cramer with David & Patricia Schlafly

Fabulous Hors d’oeuvres & service with a Smile!

(L to R) Annie Hambleton and Brian D. White

(L to R) Nancy Shields and Myrna Swanson

As the evening evolved, dancing started up in the ballroom and guests continued the fun and frivolity of a summer party on a gorgeous night in Chicago. As a young SR member, Karl Grabbi, observed, “An elegant and charming milieu set the stage for one of the best parties of the year. Limoncello, beautiful surroundings, and new friendships…what more could one want!”

Many guests then extended the evening’s merriment nearby at none other than The Zebra Lounge until 2 am! Summer is off to a fabulous start indeed.

The Social Register Summer 2024 Directory & Observer