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6th May
written by Richard

Monday through Friday my “real” job is watching over the California Room at San Diego’s downtown Central Library.  Among many collections of note here are the business directories, dating from the late 1880s all the way up to 1984.  Researchers have long appreciated the historical value of these thick volumes—often known as the “Polk Directories”–which list personal and business names, addresses, and occupations for most of San Diego County.  They are invaluable for studying local family or business history, and they are used heavily.

The popularity of our Polks has been a bit of a problem.  Paper and bindings wear out, of course, and we have had to pull a few of our more popular volumes just to prevent their total destruction.  But a solution has appeared.

In the last two months the library has been working with the San Diego Genealogical Society to digitize the directories.  The Genealogical Society’s R. J. Christensen has personally scanned over thirty of our earliest books, ensuring the preservation of the images.  The next step is to index the pdf files, which will give us quick name access to online copies of the directories.  The Society is now working with to make this last important step possible.  Stay tuned . . .


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