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Telephone and City Directories in the Library of Congress:
Non-Current (Old)

By Barbara B. Walsh, Reference Specialist
Research Guide No. 42



U.S. Telephone Directories on Microfiche

Anyone who is interested in U.S. telephone directories dating from 1976 through 1995 should make use of Phonefiche, a University Microfilms microfiche product housed in the Microform Reading Room (LJ 139B). This self-service collection consists of yellow and white pages telephone directories for most U.S. cities and towns. For most years, there is a published guide to the collection titled Community Cross-Reference Index. These guides, shelved under call number HE8801.C65 with the microform guides in the Reference Assistance Room of the Main Reading Room, identify the directory in which a specific community's listing can be found.

U.S. Telephone Directories on Paper

To examine non-current U.S. telephone directories (white and yellow pages) for years not included in the set of Phonefiche, one may request the paper copies in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room by filling out a call slip using "Telephone Directory" as the call number, the town and state as the title, and the years needed as the volume numbers. You should be aware, however, that pre-1976 directories for fourteen states, the District of Columbia, and Chicago have been microfilmed by the Library of Congress and can only be requested in the Microform Reading Room (LJ 139B). Additional information about this microfilming project is contained in the following section.

U.S. Telephone Directories on Microfilm

A major project is underway to microfilm the Library of Congress's collection of telephone directories from the pre-Phonefiche period (before 1976). At present, directories for Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the city of Chicago can be requested in the Microform Reading Room (LJ 139B). A guide to the holdings for each locality is kept at the Reference Desks in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room and the Main Reading Room.

If you are interested in telephone directories for New York City and the surrounding area published from 1878-1959, you should consult a self-service microfilm collection in the Microform Reading Room.

U.S. Reverse Telephone Directories

Non-current editions of U.S. reverse telephone directories (often titled street address or criss-cross directories) are housed in the closed stacks. They can be requested in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room by filling out a call slip using "Criss-Cross Directory" as the call number, the town and state as the title, and the years needed as the volume numbers. Reverse telephone directories are usually published annually for major metropolitan areas. Listings are based on telephone directories and are arranged both by address and telephone number. There is no listing by name. An inventory of these directories can be found in a binder at the Reference Desk in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room.

U.S. City Directories on Microfiche

All United States city and state directories up to and including 1860 are included in a self-service microfiche collection housed in the Microform Reading Room (LJ 139B). Dorothea Spear's American Directories Before 1860 (Z5771.S7 LH&G and Z5771.2.S68 1978 MRR Ref Desk) is a guide to this collection.

U.S. City Directories on Microfilm

A large self-service collection of U.S. city directories on microfilm is available in the Microform Reading Room (LJ 139B). More than 1200 U.S. cities and towns are represented in the collection which continues to grow. The years of coverage are primarily 1861 through 1960. For information on the cities included and the years available for those cities, consult U.S. City Directories on Microfilm in the Microform Reading Room.

U.S. City Directories on Paper

Many U.S. city directories in the Library of Congress are available only on paper. To identify which communities are represented and the years of coverage, consult the City Directory Finding Guide kept at the Reference Desk in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room. The information in this guide comes primarily from James Neagles' The Library of Congress: a Guide to Genealogical and Historical Resources (Salt Lake City, Ancestry, 1989. 381 p.). To request a city directory on paper, fill out a call slip using "City Directory" as the call number, the town or county and state as the title, and the years needed as the volume numbers.

Foreign Telephone Directories on Paper

Non-current editions of foreign telephone directories are shelved in the closed stacks. They can be requested in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room or the Main Reading Room by filling out a call slip as indicated above.

The European Division has posted on its web page European Telephone Directories at the Library of Congress: Indexes and Digitized Versions, which includes lists of Library of Congress holdings of retrospective telephone/address directories for several European countries and links to digitized retrospective directories from the Library's holdings.

Foreign Telephone Directories on Microfilm

The collections of the Microform Reading Room (LJ 139B) include significant holdings of telephone directories for a few European countries. These are listed below:

Country Microform call number Years included
France ** Microfilm 2000/54 1883-1959
Poland (Krakow area only) Microfilm 95/2972 1930
Yugoslavia (former) Microfilm (o) 99/6071 1970-1990

** For more information on French telephone directories on microfilm, see Microform Guide 530 in the Reference Assistance area of the Main Reading Room.

Foreign City Directories on Paper

The Library has significant holdings of non-current city directories for many foreign cities. With the exception of most Canadian city directories, they are housed in the closed stacks and have call numbers. To determine whether the Library has a directory for a certain city, search in the Main Catalog and the Library of Congress Online Catalog using the following search strategy: NAME OF CITY and subdivision DIRECTORIES. Then request the directory in the Main Reading Room or the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room by filling out a call slip. Note: The procedures described above are not applicable for retrieving directories from Canada, the United Kingdom, or Switzerland.

Canadian City Directories

For specific information about the Library's bound holdings of city directories for Canada, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, consult the City Directory Finding Guide kept at the Reference Desk in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room. Please note the print copies of Canadian city directories are treated differently from other foreign directories. Although they are housed in the closed stacks, they do NOT have call numbers and should be requested by filling out a call slip as indicated above.

Researchers interested in pre-1900 Canadian directories should use the large microfiche collection titled Pre-1900 Canadian Directories (Microfiche 99/44), which can be requested in the Microform Reading Room (LJ 107). Microform Reading Room Guide No. 474, which describes the collection in detail, is available in the Reference Assistance Room of the Main Reading Room.

Foreign City Directories on Microfilm and Microfiche

The collections of the Microform Reading Room (LJ 107) include significant holdings of directories for several European localities. Listed below are the localities, microform call numbers, and the years included:

Locality
Microform call number
Years included
Berlin
Microfilm 32901
1891, 1895-96, 1899, 1901, 1905-06, 1908,
1911-14, 1922, 1926-1941
Berlin
Microfiche 85/161
1919-1932
Leningrad (Petrograd, St. Petersburg)
Microfilm 04676
1894-99, 1900-08, 1910-17, 1922-1934
Moscow
Microfilm 30585
1896-1907, 1912, 1923, 1927-29, 1936
All Russia (Major towns throughout Russia)
Microfilm 24185
1895, 1899, 1903, 1911-12,1923

Unlike the collection of U.S. city directories on microform, these directories must be requested on Microform Reading Room call slips.

 

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  January 8, 2014
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