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Directories - Introduction

The Heritage Center has an unusually complete collection of directories for Fresno County cities and towns, and for other localities in California and the West. A list of holdings is available. They are available on microfilm, though more recent editions may be available in hard copy form.

County directories are available for most years from 1871 onward, excepting 1874-1880, 1885-1888, 1897, 1899, 1930, 1943, 1945-1946, and 1948. It is important to note that, until the late 1950s, one directory covered all of Fresno County (save for Coalinga, which began publishing its own as early as 1900). After that time, separate directories began to appear for Selma-Kingsburg-Fowler, Sanger, and Reedley. The Fresno directory has, however, continued to retain listings for Clovis (with the exception of 1957-1973).

A variety of publishers produced directories for the earliest years. Beginning with the 1907 edition, the Polk-Husted Company (later R.L.Polk) became the publisher and is continuing in this capacity. It was later joined by the Haines Criss-Cross Directory; the Room has annual issues beginning with 1972. Haines coverage follows a format similar to Polk (listings in order of street address, listings in order of telephone numbers, although there is no listing by individuals). An advantage of Haines is that it covers not only Fresno County but Madera, Kings and Tulare counties also.

Fresno County telephone directories are available, also in printed versions and on microfilm, from 1909 onward. The earliest edition covered Fresno, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties. In 1946, separate publication of a Fresno city telephone directory commenced, with the rural communities staying in the six-county directory. (Clovis listings, however, were re-integrated into the Fresno city telephone directory by 1964.) Kings and Tulare counties were put into a separate telephone directory beginning in 1953, and Mariposa and Merced were incorporated into other directories in 1984. Since that time, a Fresno-Madera Counties rural telephone directory has been published.