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Angela Cannon, Reference Specialist, European Reading Room
Note: This guide is adapted from an earlier version by Michael Neubert, which first appeared on the European Reading Room website in the 1990s.
Created: July 28, 2022
Last Updated: July 28, 2022
Websites of East European government ministries and agencies contain critical, primary sources for the study of all aspects of political, economic, and social life in the region. Much of the content on the sites is released exclusively in electronic format, and thus complements the Library of Congress print collections.
The Library of Congress began systematically collecting residential and organizational telephone directories from many countries in 1937, but as a rule current telephone directories (both residential and "yellow pages") are not cataloged or included in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. To fill that gap the European Reading Room compiled this guide to provide a list of the Library's holdings of telephone directories from the Russian Federation and the Russian parts of the former Soviet Union, as well as a few titles from the Russian diaspora. There are over 1,300 entries in the guide representing the Library's holdings as of July 2022.
Most pre-1937 address (non-telephone) directories and business directories may be found in the online catalog, but a selection of them also are included in the indexes below. The older directories are of great value to historians, biographers and genealogists, for they indicate where an individual lived and what years he or she resided there. Some directories provide additional biographical information, such as profession or trade. Many directories also contain listings for businesses and institutions either organized alphabetically or arranged by subject like "yellow pages." The directories in this guide are primarily in the general collections, with a few historical directories available in the European Reading Room. Cataloged directories may be requested using the online catalog, but uncataloged directories should be requested in the Main Reading Room, or by asking a librarian in the European Reading Room for help. For older directories available only on microform, it is necessary to consult with the staff of the Microform and Electronic Resources Center. The location of the directories listed in this guide is the International Telephone Directory collection in the Adams Building stacks unless stated otherwise.
To locate older directories which have been cataloged (some published during the Soviet era and some before 1917), search for the name of the city and use the subject term "directories." Many of these directories were published during the Soviet era, although the Library of Congress continues to acquire selected historical directories when they become available to expand the collection. For the most part in recent years print directories have ceased to be published or it has been difficult to acquire them, thus the most recent directory from Russia in the collection is from 2014.
Note that a fair number of residential directories are available even at the "raion" (district) level, although coverage is not uniform. (That is, for some parts of Russia the Library may have a number of raion-level directories for a particular oblast', krai, or republic, while for another it may have none). Also, perhaps contrary to what might be expected, residential telephone directories are frequently less available for large cities than for small cities and towns. Apparently the cost of publishing such directories profitably is difficult in cities such as Tver' and Samara (to take two examples). No Moscow residential directory has been published for many years and neither has one been published for post-Soviet St. Petersburg.
The records in this finding aid are arranged by city and then sub-arranged under each city by year, with the most recent appearing last. Where two directories were published in the same year for the same city, they are sub-arranged alphabetically. The Cyrillic text was transliterated using the standard LC transliteration scheme. The fields contained in the records are as follows:
Besides using printed telephone directories, a researcher may find it helpful to use online directories available for free on the Internet, some of which are described below.