By Michael Dorausch, DC

I’ve recently been enjoying reading and studying two different directories I’ve acquired for the city of Los Angeles, published in the years 1915 and 1916. These books were the beginning of what later became known to most of us as the Yellow Pages and I’ve been fascinated with the near century old ancestry of local search, advertising (especially for chiropractic schools and chiropractors), and vision that these individuals had.

Association American Directory of PublishersAssociation of American Directory Publishers

The scanned page shown above is from a 1916 directory for the city of Los Angeles. The books were not prominently known as yellow page directories, and were more often referred to as city directories. This page lists the directory publishers president and other officers, as well as the “objects of the Association.” Today, we’d likely refer to that as a mission statement.

From the 1916 publication The Association of American Directory Publishers is described as such:

The Association of the American Directory Publishers is composed of reputable City Directory Publishers, organized for the general advancement of the Directory business. Any person, corporation or firm engaged in business as owner and publisher of a City Directory in the United States or Canada, who shall qualify as competent to gather information and compile a City Directory and furnish satisfactory references, is eligible to membership.

American directory publishers objectsAssociation of American Directory Publishers Membership and Objects

The objects of the Association are:

First. The advancement of the Directory business and the improvement of Directories by the interchange of ideas and the exchange of experienced employes.

Second. To provide protection to the public against fraudulent advertising schemes which operate under the name of Directories, and to drive unprincipled promoters of the same out of business.

Third. To provide permanent and profitable employment to competent, industrious and honest Directory canvassers and compilers.

Fourth. For the mutual protection and advancement of the established and prospective interests of all who may become members, by personal advice and assistance of members as may be mutually satisfactory, desirable or advisable, and by such other means as may, from time to time, be shown to be wise, proper and lawful.

$100.00 REWARD will be paid by the Association for the arrest and conviction of any person or persons engaged in publishing, collecting or canvassing for any fraudulent or fake Directory.

Ah, the history of local search continues to fascinate me. I wonder what these individuals would think of today’s online directories.