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United States: City and Telephone Directories

U.S. Reverse Telephone Directories

Theodor Horydczak, photographer. Telephone, directory, and globe. Circa 1920-1950. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Reverse telephone directories (often called street address or criss-cross directories) are usually published annually for major metropolitan areas. Listings are based on telephone directories and are arranged both by address and telephone number. There is no listing by name.

Historic Directories

For an online inventory of the Library's U.S. Criss-Cross and Street Address Directories, please consult Directories by Address: Inventories of Library Collections. These directories are served in the Science & Business Reading Room on the 5th floor of the John Adams Building.

Current Directories

The latest available U.S. reverse telephone directories in print format are located on Deck 46 which is entered through Alcove 4 in the Main Reading Room. They are arranged alphabetically by state, shelved after the telephone and city directories for that state. The labels on the catalog drawers are color coded for easy identification: green is for the reverse telephone directory catalog.

Find Your City! Interactive Map of the Library's Criss-Cross Directories, 1930-2005

Requesting a Large Number of Directories

This guidance is for those interested in requesting a large number of print directories housed in the John Adams Building including Street Address, Criss-Cross, Telephone Books, and City Business Directories. These directories are not in the catalog, so there are separate steps for requesting these items. Please read these policies carefully before making a request:

  • Directories are served in the Science & Business Reading Room on the 5th floor of the John Adams Building. 
  • Directory requests need to be submitted in person via paper slip at the book services desk in the Science & Business Reading Room.
  • There is a maximum of 40 directories per person per day. Requests that contain more than 40 directories will be truncated at 40 items. 
  • We strongly encourage submitting bulk directory requests at least 24 hours in advance in person. Same day requests can take up to 2 hours.
  • Directory requests need to include (a) type of directory: Street Address, Criss-Cross, Telephone Book, or City Business), (b) location, including state, and (c) specific years. Library staff will only pull the volumes that are specifically requested.
  • Once you’ve arrived, check in at the book service desk so staff can deliver your cart of directories.
  • No carts are kept in the reading room overnight; let staff know if you plan to continue to use the directories at a future appointment.

Effective April 4, 2022