Background & Physical Collection
A City Directory lists the names of individuals living within a city along with their place of residence and occupation. Beginning with the 1911 edition, names of spouses and children over 18 were also included. In 1913, a street index was added to the City Directory. This is the feature which will be most helpful to persons researching their house since it allows the searcher to look up a specific address and find who was living there.
The San Jose Public Library holds all known published San Jose City directories from 1870-1970. These are available for research in the California Room. San JosÃ© City Directories 1870-1960 are also available on microfilm in the California Room.
In addition, we also have copies of directories for other nearby cities, such as Santa Cruz, Gilroy, and Palo Alto. We do not have all years for these cities. Please refer to the library catalog for a complete listing of city directories held by the SJPL California Room.
For more information about our collection of city directories, and how to use them, please visit the California Room website.
The Digital Collection
This collection currently includes the Classified Business sections of San Jose City Directories for the years 1890-1918. These listings are arranged by type of business, and can be compared to the yellow pages of today. These were digitized using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, so the text within the documents can be searched. The alphabetical name and street index sections of these directories have not been scanned, and are not part of this collection. If you are interested in keeping up to date with the latest additions, you can sign up for the collection RSS Feed.
For additional information about using images in this collection, contact the SJPL California Room.