Our Library Has Purchased A 1936 “Chicago Suburban Telephone Directory” Published By The Illinois Bell Telephone Company; We Purchased It From eBay

STDL Central Summer LgHi Everyone!

Just to let you know of an interesting purchase our library recently made that will now be a resource.

Jane Rozek our Local History librarian arranged to make purchase of a 1936 Chicago Suburban Telephone Directory from eBay.  It is being processed for addition to our collection.

The directory is a straight alphabetical listing that incorporates residences and businesses into one list.

Jane noted to us that even back in 1936 towns such as Crystal Lake, McHenry, Antioch, Fox Lake and Zion were considered Chicago suburbs as there are listings for these towns in the directory.

A nice thing about this print directory is that it is dated in-between the 1930 and 1940 US Census.  This means it can be a useful tool for tracking ancestors in-between census years, assuming they lived in a “suburban” area outside of the city of Chicago.

One major issue is that the paper directory is in a very “fragile” state.  Because of this it will NOT be made available for public use.  For the time being it will be in the possession of Jane Rozek our Local History librarian.  Perhaps at some point in the future the directory can be digitized and made available electronically at some future date.

Jane has offered to do “look-ups” for names in the directory.  You can send Jane an e-mail request to do a look-up at jrozek@stdl.org.   I actually looked up the name of my “uncle” that lived in Cary, IL at this time.  I found him listed, with an accompanying address and “occupation”.  Please remember, this is considered a “phone directory” not a “city directory”.

What is the difference?

A city directory captured the names of anyone living in the town.  This process was done generally before 1930 when phone service was not so dominant.  This is a phone directory, hence, a family had to have a phone and phone service to be considered for entry in this book.

Consequently, an ancestor of yours might very well have lived in one of the suburbs included in this directory.  Unfortunately, they might not have had telephone service and would therefore not be listed in the book.

I will let you know of future developments for this directory as to its availability to the public.  For now if you have an interest in getting a “look-up” of an ancestral name perhaps living in the suburban Chicago area in 1936 (hopefully with a telephone!) then contact Jane at jrozek@stdl.org.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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