San José City Directories
The San José Public Library holds all known published San José City directories from 1870-1970. However, the year ranges for each city directory on this page may include missing years. Please contact the California Room to verify that the directories you seek are available.
- 1870-1979 in print
- 1870-1960 on microfilm
- 1870 online
- 1887 online
- 1920 online
- Covering San José Suburban for 1968-1974
Important note: The earlier San José City Directories often list other Santa Clara County cities. For exact city coverage in these directories, please see our City Directories Index.
The Digital Collection
The digital directories collection currently includes the San Jose City Business Sections for the years 1870-1918 as well as the complete 1870, 1887, and 1920 City Directories. For information about using images from this collection, contact the California Room.
For more information about using our city directories, please visit our House and Property Research Guide.
San Francisco City Directories
We have San Francisco City Directories in print and/or microfilm:
- 1882-1982 (missing some years)
San Francisco Directories online:
- San Francisco City Directory 1881-1890 (missing 1884, 1887, 1888)
- San Francisco City Directory 1891-1927 (missing some years)
Other City Directories
We provide the following city directories in print. The year ranges for each city directory may include missing years. Please contact the California Room to verify that the directories you seek are available.
- Gilroy: 1964-1983
- Los Gatos: 1956-1967
- Menlo Park: 1978-1980
- Morgan Hill: 1968-1983
- Mountain View: 1962-1968
- Palo Alto: 1938-1978
- San Martin: 1970-1983
- Santa Cruz: 1963-1985
- Sunnyvale: 1964-1968
- Watsonville: 1981-1988
City Directory Research Tips
A City Directory lists the names of individuals living within a city along with their place of residence and occupation. To be listed, a person or property must have been located within city limits when the directory was issued (Large parts of present-day San José are not included in early city directories.)
Before 1911 only property owners were included in directories. Beginning with the 1911 edition, the names of spouses and children over 18 were also included. Directories prior to 1913 were by surname only.
In 1913, a street index was added. This feature is helpful to those researching houses, since one can look up a specific address to find all its residents.
Note that street names have changed over time; for example, in 1913, 14th St. in San Jose became 17th St. A list of street name changes is available in the California Room. House numbers and parcels may change as well. Early San Jose directories include other cities in the area; the City Directories Index will help you determine coverage. A key at the front of each directory aids in deciphering symbols and abbreviations. In some of the older directories, occupation and ownership of property is listed.
About Haines Criss-Cross Directories and Pacific Bell Reverse Directories
These directories date from the mid-1960s. They are useful for finding out who lived in your house after 1979 when the City Directories cease publication. They can also be used for cities and unincorporated areas outside San Jose.