If there was one book certain to be in the home of every social aspirant of the Regency era, it would have been Boyle's Court and Country Guide.
The second half of the book was organized by names. If you met someone at a rout or ball, as soon as you returned home you could discover their address, the name and location of their country estate, and ensure that their acquaintance was worth cultivating.
In 1821, Eliza Boyle is listed as offering the services of the Court Guide; it may have been her husband who began the publication. Three years later it appears her son, G. H. Boyle, has taken over the operation. A unique service is advertised in the front of the book. It is a paid delivery service for visiting cards, invitations etc.
The 1857 issue of Boyle's followed the same basic pattern of earlier issues, but also it contained wonderful advertisements, and I'm wondering what year that began.
Boyle's Court Guide continued to be published for some 140 years until it was absorbed about 1934 by Webster's Royal Red book. Google Books has some 1821, 1824 and 1857 issues for free download, and Westminster City Archives have some issues, if you can access them. If you have access to the Getty Research Institute, they have many more issues. (I don't have that access, but I'd love to see some of the issues from the early 1800s.)
Much like a Regency socialite, I will have Boyle's Court Guide at hand, when next I am contemplating Regency society!
'Til next time,