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Butte County Directories Collection

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

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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