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Butte County Directories Collection

Browsing and Searching the Butte County Directories Collection in Chico Digital Collections

Equity and Outreach Librarian

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Stefani Baldivia
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Meriam Library, Room 116

Householder's Guides

Some directories contain a Householder’s guide, which is organized by address and identifies who was residing at that location. Street names can change over time, and sometimes so do house numbers. The Householder’s Directory identifies cross-streets, to provide a cross-reference to modern maps.  The Directory of Householders was published in City Directories for the years 1916- 1994.

Butte County Directories owned by Meriam Library

1881*    1905*    1910*    1912*    1915*    1922    1940    1945    1948    1950    1952- 1994

* Does not contain a Directory of Householders 

Butte County Directories owned by Butte County Library, Chico Branch

1907*    1909*    1911*    1912*    1913*    1914    1915    1916    1917    1918    1921    1922-1945

*Does not contain a Directory of Householders

OCR- Optical Character Recognition

The transcriptions created in CSU Chico Digital Collections are not 100% accurate.

The Special Collections Department is always striving to be more successful and more perfect in providing researchers with access to high quality digital content. However, we know that having a transcription that is mostly accurate yet, 100% available is better than no access at all. There are a few factors which influence the accuracy of OCR transcripts, including the quality of the original image scan, varying font types, and the direction of text printing. Please, bear with us!

Saving what you find

If you find a particular page from a Directory you'd like to save, or wish to refer to later, the Reference URL or Share button on the top left hand side of the page.

  • The Reference URL provides a few options to link to either the exact object on that page, or the whole book 
  • The Share button will only point the recipient to the WHOLE book

CSU Chico Butte County Directories Collection

City directories contain alphabetical lists of business firms, corporations and private citizens, as well as numerical street guides, and often miscellaneous directories of city, county, state and United States officers, churches, clubs, colleges and schools, labor organizations, secret and benevolent societies, etc. They are invaluable tools for local and family historians. The first local directories were published in 1881.

Both the Meriam Library Special Collections Department and the Chico Branch of the Butte County Library own partial sets of the directories. In 2004, the respective Friends of the Library organizations donated funds to scan and digitize the directories to preserve the oldest years in an attempt to provide a more complete set in both physical locations. As a result of those efforts, the Butte County Directories are now full text searchable at the CSU Chico Digital Collections website.

Unfortunately, neither the Meriam Library Special Collections Department nor the Chico Branch of Butte County Library owns the directories for the years:

  • 1882-1904

  • 1917, 1919, and 1920.

If you wish to use the Butte County Directories, in their physical format, please contact the Meriam Library Special Collections Department at

What information can be found in a City Directory?

Each County or City Directory is different and there are variations between publishers. The publishing company with the widest and most consistent distribution is R.L. Polk and Company, which began consistently distributing in Butte County in 1911.



Searching the Butte County Directories Collection on Chico Digital Collections





Using the Advanced Search drop down menu, users can limit their search, applying the filters:

  • All the Words- which will search all the words in your search box
  • All the Fields- which will search all the metadata fields within the collection
  • Applying Boolean operators AND & OR-
    • AND will expand the results
    • OR will also expand, but is best for synonyms (ex. Indians OR Indigenous)
  • or... Search by Date
    • FROM this date to that date
    • AFTER / BEFORE / ON, this date

Interpreting our Results

The left hand tool bar shows which collections were included in your search, but this is interactive. Users can check the boxes to Add or Remove Collections:

Beneath the Search box display, the shaded description also indicates which collection was searched, and what search term was used, and which fields were queried. If users applied the Advanced Search option, from this window, the website offers the option to:

  • Add another field to search- to limit the results further
  • Add or Remove collections from the results list



Exploring our Results

The results will be a list of the Directories which include a match for the search term. Click on any hyperlinked title and the website will take you to the image for the first page of the book, usually the front cover page. The left hand side of the page, includes two tabs:

  • Image 
  • Text

Users may toggle between the two tabs, or choose to View Image & Text, but will only be able to find the "Previous Instance" and "Next Instance" Find arrows in the Text tab view.

Users can click on the down or "Next Instance" arrow to jump directly to each page where the search term was found. Users may toggle between the Image and Text tabs to see where the word appears on the page, but cannot navigate to the next instance from the Image view tab, ONLY from the Text tab.

The right hand side of the results page also has two tabs, Thumbnails and Content:

The Content tab enumerates the page names and numbers and will indicate if the search term appears within the text:


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