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Historical artifacts of extreme importance are being rediscovered and accorded the value they deserve. City, county and state directories are essential both as a research tool and a collectible. They allow historical access to the earliest development of communities, and contain information not available elsewhere.
Directories first appeared in California in 1850, and in Nevada in 1862. The publication of a directory was one of the proudest signs of prosperity for a fledgling town or city. Indeed, the future success of the community in attracting outside capital may well have depended on it. Directories are often among the first printed works about a region, and frequently contain the first histories of the area covered, based on written and oral sources no longer extant.
By their very ephemeral nature, directories are among the rarest categories of all books. They have always been quickly discarded when out-dated. Few copies survive, and those that do are often in poor condition. During the last decade these items have enjoyed an ever increasing demand among institutions, corporations, collectors and investors because of their economic and intrinsic value.
This selection of 151 directories was based on their age, priority, the historical importance of contents, on rarity and desirability among collectors, and on the significance and popularity of the location (s) they cover. They are listed within alphabetical sequence of counties according to year published or year of copyright, if indicated.