City Directory Listings Database

How the Database was constructed: 
City business directories from the pre-Prohibition period included separate sections listing Distillers and Rectifiers, Liquor Wholesalers, Liquors Retailers, and Saloons. 

The database includes listings from the  first two of these categories: Distillers and Rectifiers, and Liquor Wholesalers.  Photocopies of the relevant pages were made and then every listing in every year entered into a database, gradually building individual business entries based on their showing in the yearly listings.    
       This is not a complete record because the directories themselves are often incomplete, with some pages missing or unreadable.  Second, the old businesses had to pay to be listed.  This meant that the smaller companies may have been represented in one year only. 
Offsetting this is the observation that directories from some years had two or three times the usual number of listings, so I suspect that special promotional deals were offered that enabled most all of the companies to get included during these years.  Despite the shortcomings, you should be able to obtain a fairly good historical record for your company of interest.  

What the Database Contains:  A typical listing is shown below:

  • Humphrey & Martin (1860-1918)
    L Humphrey & Bro. (1870-1880) W Humphrey & Co. (1881) Samuel Humphrey & John W. Martin (1882-1917) Samuel Humphrey (1918)
    N 3 rd & Callowhill (1872, 1876, 1895) 237 Callowhill (1882) 401-403 N 3 rd (1870-1918)

The database is organized alphabetically by company name as it appeared in the directories.   Each listing gives a range of dates over which they appear.  This is not necessarily the dates over which the companies operated since their origins may pre-date the directories.  If a letterhead or other piece of documentation provides a date that indicates when the company was established, then this is included in the range, as shown in the example above.  The next line (in bold) show how the company name changed with time, together with relevant dates.  The line in italics shows their business address during this time.   

You will notice that the the first line of the listing includes a hyperlink.  This provides access to the Midacore™  database, which gathers information on the old merchants and all of their advertising, including shot glasses, bottle, jugs, and much more.  Clicking on the link will take you to a vendor view page that provides detailed information on the listing as it appeared in the city directories.  You'll also find thumbnail pictures of relics from the companies.  The thumbnails are themselves linked to view pages.  At present, the database is still in embryonic form and hence the amount of supplementary material is minimal.  This will change in time as collectors and relatives like YOU contribute to the project.

For additional information on abbreviations and city-specific coverage, see the City Notes page.

How do I use the Database?   
If you have a bottle or shot glass with the name of a company and city clearly identified, then click on the relevant letter of the alphabet in the index below.  If that doesn't get results, then try searching the database for the name of interest.  Companies changed names frequently as partners died, moved, or switched affiliations.  This fact, combined with the incomplete nature of the database, means that a search may locate the name of interest under an unsuspected listing -- appearing within a string of partners, for example.   If that still doesn't yield results, then try alternate spellings.  The old directories were compiled and typeset by hand so errors were common.  People's names were also changing as they anglicized their spelling and pronunciation, so be creative!  See the Notes page for additional information.

The utility of this database will increase with time as new cities and directory pages are added.  YOU can help out in this respect.  If you are willing and able to provide information or pictures of shots, bottles and other ephemera, please contact the glassmaster.  You WILL be credited!   Thank you!! 


last updated: October 15, 2009                  

Copyright © 2002-2005  All rights reserved.  Please contact the glassmaster with questions or comments