U.S. City Directories on Microfilm in the Microform Reading Room
City directories are among the most important sources of information about urban areas and their inhabitants. They provide personal and professional information about a city's residents as well as information about its business, civic, social, religious, charitable, and literary institutions. The Library of Congress has an unmatched collection of United States city and telephone directories, both current and non-current. They are available in a variety of formats–paper, microfiche, microfilm, and electronic. For more detailed information, consult Telephone and City Directories in the Library of Congress: a Finding Guide.
City Directories of the United States, published by Primary Source Microfilm part of Gale Group, is a large self-service collection of city directories on microfilm. More than 1200 cities, towns, and counties are represented; the years of coverage are primarily 1861 through 1960. The directories are arranged by city (not by state) in large cabinets in the Microform Reading Room. Paper copies of the guide to city directories can be found in notebooks in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room and the Microform Reading Room. Directories for many localities include listings for other nearby communities. When ranges of years are indicated, there may be gaps of as many as five years.
Numbered miscellaneous reels are shelved at the end of the alphabetical collection. Furthermore, there are additional directories for New Jersey towns, shelved by locality in separate drawers labeled Supplemental New Jersey Directories. These directories have been microfilmed by several historical societies in New Jersey.
A separate microfilm collection of U. S. business directories, published from 1902 to 1935 and arranged alphabetically by specific locality, is shelved following the miscellaneous reels in drawers labeled Business Group. The business directories are not included in the holdings information organized by state, listed below.
A separate microfiche collection of pre-1861 U.S. directories is also available on a self-service basis in the Microform Reading Room. Dorothea Spear's American Directories Before 1860 (LC Call Numbers: Z5771.S7 LH&G and Z5771.2.S68 1978 MRR Ref Desk) is a guide to this collection.
The directories listed below are available in the self-service microfilm collection. None of these directories is available on interlibrary loan; nor can the staff of the Library of Congress search these directories for names of individuals or organizations. A list of free-lance researchers [PDF: 32 KB / 3 p.] in the greater Washington D.C. area who perform research for a fee is available from the Humanities and Social Sciences Division.