Item #65896 Crocker's San Francisco Directory, for Year Commencing April 1895
Crocker's San Francisco Directory, for Year Commencing April 1895
Crocker's San Francisco Directory, for Year Commencing April 1895
Crocker's San Francisco Directory, for Year Commencing April 1895

Crocker's San Francisco Directory, for Year Commencing April 1895

San Francisco: H.S. Crocker Company, 1895. First edition. Hardcover. 1820pp. Thick octavo [24cm]. 1/4 leather over gray boards. Title stamped in silver on spine, amidst gilt stamped advertisements. Boards stamped with black ink advertisements. Three additional advertisements stamped across textblock edges. Scuffing to extremities. Leather has frayed at foot of spine. Binding is fragile in spots, and front hinge is cracked. Early unnumbered advertisements are beginning to detach. One is detached, but present. Full-color advertisements on cardstock scattered throughout text. Ex-libris stamp on first and title page, reading "Leland Stanford Junior University [Stanford University] Registrar - March 28 1895." Lacking the fold-out map. Good +. Item #65896

Containing an alphabetical list of business firms and private citizens; a directory of the city and county officers, churches, public and private schools, benevolent, literary and other associations, banks, incorporated institutions, etc. and with a complete classified business directory. Scarce.

The first San Francisco directory issued by H.S. Crocker Company, and the only to solely bear the Crocker name.

The very earliest San Francisco directory was issued in 1850, by a man named Charles P. Kimball. Citing the city's large "floating population" and amount of unnumbered residences, Kimball humbly admits "That we have done it more correctly than others would, we do not claim. But we do claim to have done it to the best of our ability, under the circumstances, and leave it with the Public to decide upon its merits." He did not release a follow-up.

The compilation and release of an annual city directory seemed insurmountable - until Henry G. Langley tried his hand in 1858. In his first preface, he states, "In the preparation of the present volume, the compiler has aimed to arrange a Directory more comprehensive in its plan, and more systematic in its arrangement, than any publication of a similar character hitherto issued in California." He succeeded, and the Langley name became synonymous with the San Francisco directory for decades. Around 1874, Langley sold all rights to his namesake directory to the publishing house Painter and Company. Weakened by the publisher's years of legal and financial mismanagement, competition finally arrived in 1895--in the form of H.S. Crocker company.

Rivalry is evident in the 1895 Langley preface, which dramatically departs from prior form with a bulleted eleven "points of superiority [over other directories], which our thirty-seven years of experience have enabled us to attain." Points include compactness and typographic superiority. They conclude with an expression of gratitude to longstanding patrons, and an expression of hope that the patronage will continue. Crocker's takes another tact. In the introduction, the publishers express confidence that the new product will meet the requirements of the public, and a willingness to let it rest on its merits.

Perhaps sensing the futility of continuing to divide the customer base (and attempt a double canvass of the sometimes reticent San Francisco populace), the Crocker-Langley directory debuts in 1896.

Price: $400.00

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