'Frank Sinatra, 9229 Sunset Blvd.': The Little Black Books of Pop-Culture Icons

The social lives of legendary celebrities, as told by their datebooks and address records

banner_little black books.jpg

The words "little black book" conjure all kinds of salacious ideas about jet-setting playboys and Hollywood madams. The earliest black book may be Harris' List of Covent Garden Ladies—a directory of 18th-century prostitutes working in London, which sold thousands of copies annually. Since then, the little black book has evolved into more of a straightforward address book. Depending on your style, it can be a free-form collage of facts and memories about those you meet, or a rigid, alphabetized list of names and numbers.

I recently spotted Marlon Brando's little black book on Tumblr. Fascinated by the handwriting, worn pages, and contents, I went searching for other black books kept by pop-culture icons. Below, see what fascinating observations, secrets, and contacts were found hiding between the pages.

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

Presented by

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Entertainment

Just In