Usefulness of City Directories

By Benita on October 02, 2014//Leave a comment

Library users often ask why we still keep old books on the shelves. Isn’t it all online? While many things are now available online, there is still a good reason to keep a book on the shelf.


One example is the old San Diego City Directories. We have copies from 1901 to 1984 of these directories. How might they still be useful? Think of an environmental case. Such a case might bring up questions of what kind of business was located on a piece of property and for how long?  Who might have been responsible for any contamination (who were the officers, owners, etc.)? Answers to these questions make up a site history for a property.


The directories also have obvious historical and genealogical uses. For a digital archive of select city directories from 1887 to 1925, see the San Diego Library digitization project.

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  1. John Almond

    It’s amazing how this post was written in 2014 and is still relevant today. Love the topic of old San Diego City Directories. While everything is going online, it’s good to see history of San Diego in books.

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