Subject specialists in the Research and Reference Services Division
Candice Buchanan, Reference Librarian, History and Genealogy Section
Ahmed Johnson, Reference Librarian, History and Genealogy Section
Darren Jones, Reference Librarian, Humanities & Social Sciences Section
Barbara Walsh, Reference Specialist, Humanities & Social Sciences Section
Note: This research guide comprises inventories from previously published web guides covering city, business and telephone directories in the United States in both print and microform.
Created: December 15, 2021
Last Updated: April 7, 2022
Have a question? Need assistance? Use our online form to ask a librarian for help.
City and telephone directories provide specific information on a locality’s residents and addresses, and may also include occupation or telephone number. Family historians often use these directories to fill in the gaps between censuses. Since they are updated regularly—often at least once a year—directories help to pinpoint where and with whom ancestors lived each year, which in turn helps researchers to know where to look for more records. Directories are also a terrific resource for house history, business history, and local history in general.
The Library of Congress makes available to the public an extensive collection of past and present city, telephone, and reverse telephone (criss-cross) directories for the United States and many foreign countries. These directories are available in a variety of formats and locations. For information on a particular type of directory, consult the appropriate section of this guide.
U.S City and Telephone directories are accessible in both the Main Reading Room (LJ 100) or the Microform and Electronic Research Center (LJ 139) which is directly across from the Main Reading Room. Local History & Genealogy Reference Services are also located inside the entrance to the Main Reading Room. View a map of the First Floor of the Jefferson Building.
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:
Effective April 4, 2022