Why did they have City Directories?

At a talk I was giving, on the use of City Directories in genealogy, I was asked the following question.

“Why did they have City Directories and who published them?”

My response was “City Directories were published by some wealthy company as an advertisement tool. Businesses would pay to have their name included in the directory and the publisher would sell the directories to make money. They would also donate some to the community as a good will gesture.”

Here is what “R. L. Polk & Co.”, the publishers of one such City Directory had to say.

1935 City Directory for: Ludington, Michigan (see larger text pages below)



If you are having trouble reading the two page text, below is a larger version of each page.




Thank You

I hope this has given you some new information that you can use for your genealogy work.

Jose from Clarkston, Michigan

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