The Library of Congress has digitized historic Bulgarian telephone directories and made them available to the public. They can be accessed via the links below or via the Library of Congress Online Catalog. All of the directories include entries for businesses and organizations as well as for private individuals. We are grateful to the Embassy of Bulgaria in Washington, DC, and the descendants of Iwan Parlapanoff, for help in obtaining permission for the digitization of the directories.
The Library's copies of these telephone directories were selected for preservation treatment due to their poor physical condition. Digitized versions were produced to allow researchers free digital access to their historical content, while the fragile original items are retained in the collections. All directories are also linked to the corresponding entry in the Library of Congress online catalog. The presentation is via "page turner" display or a searchable (and downloadable) PDF. Searching requires the use of Cyrillic characters, but is not entirely reliable, thus results should be confirmed manually by turning to the appropriate page.
These two directories below, published by Dr. Iwan Parlapanoff, are the oldest directories for Bulgaria in the collections of the Library of Congress. In the initial section the entries are arranged alphabetically by town or city and intermingle surnames with businesses. At the beginning of each town listing are the names of town officials. The second section has the business or "yellow pages" listings. Besides having entries for individuals and businesses, the directories also have maps and advertising. The 1917 volume has several unique features such as black and white photos of the royal family, a listing of members of the National Assembly and their political party affiliations, and parallel Bulgarian and German texts for all pages. Although the 1919 volume has listings only in German, both directories have advertisements in the two languages. In addition to traditional directory listings, the volumes also offer a brief history of Bulgaria, the constitution of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, statistical data, and advice on how to compose business letters. After digitization, both of the original items were returned to the book stacks for permanent retention in the Library of Congress collection.
The publisher of the directories, Dr. Iwan Parlapanoff (1874-1958), was a Bulgarian who lived in Germany for most of his adult life. He founded a publishing house that produced, among other things, educational texts and volumes on Bulgarian culture. His works reflect his support for German-Bulgarian educational and economic cooperation. Due to his valuable contributions in this arena, the Bulgarian government appointed him first Vice-Consul and later Consul to Leipzig from 1929-1936. For more information about Parlapanoff, consult the two items listed immediately after the directories.