Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Casualty

A while back my friend Sue found this in an antique store and thought I might like it:

She was wrong - I LOVE it! :D

Here's another formerly ubiquitous book that has been relegated to the trash heap - the city directory!  I wonder what percentage of businesses still bother to purchase a city directory anymore.  When I worked at The Reporter, I remember the circulation director complaining about having to buy it -those babies were $85 apiece!  I believe the last time they purchased one was 2005.

And is it any wonder?  With a little sleuthing you can uncover, on the Internet, any of the information contained within a directory.  Just get yourself a (free) LinkedIn account and use and you're pretty much covered.

Even so - isn't this wonderful?  This particular directory is from 1982.  I love the old logos on the front and surprisingly (and happily), many of the businesses listed on the front cover are still in business.  Some have different names and have been purchased 8 times over by various international conglomerates (Giddings and Lewis is now MAG) but hey, it's still in business!  :D

When I worked at the Press-Gazette in Green Bay I would pore over the old directories and imagine how Green Bay was in, say, 1946.  The P-G had quite an extensive library and in those halcyon days where newspapers actually turned a hefty profit, they actually employed a librarian!  I'm sure she wondered why I was interested in those books.

I even used part of the green pages of this directory for the "lawn" in this recent collage - I love the use of text within my torn paper pieces and I think it added some interest.  :D


  1. Mel! I have a city directory from 1955! My dad bought it when he had a business. The telephone numbers are before dial dad's business number was 2727!! It sure is fun to look through and see all the businesses that were in Fond du Lac!

  2. Just love this! We've got to have lots of these around here! I'm going to look!

  3. Thanks for writing, Jane and Annie! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who finds these books utterly fascinating. Jane, I love the old four-digit numbers too. It wasn't that long ago but my, how far we've come! :D

  4. I've used city directories a lot for local history research but you can definitely see when they get supplanted by the phone directories (and who uses those these days if you have internet access?) by the 1960s.

  5. Good post Mel and loved your collage!!