Town Directories, 1869-1942

J. Albert Sullivan Druggist and Apothecary advertisement from 1869

Directories of Watertown businesses and residents were produced by a variety of publishers from 1869 to 1942. Their content and format vary depending on the publisher, but all include names and addresses. Other features include business listings (categorized by trade), advertisements, and a “miscellaneous” directory of town departments, schools, places of worship, and associations.

How to Use this Collection

Most of the older directories cover both Waltham and Watertown, with Watertown coming after Waltham. (Waltham has digitized the 1897-98 edition that we do not own.) The early Watertown listings are alphabetical by surname and display occupations, residences (including some second homes), business locations, deaths, relocations, and more. Note that some street numbers are omitted, with the letter “n” designating, instead, when a house was “near” a landmark or intersection. Typically, the word “street” is omitted while other street suffixes (Ave, Ter, Rd, Cir, Pl, etc.) are included.

Watertown directories published between 1926 and 1942 begin with an alphabetical list of streets. Next to each street name is that street’s precinct number(s); beneath it, house numbers are listed with the head of household’s name. Following the street list, residents are listed alphabetically by surname with their occupations and residences. Keep in mind that all house numbers in Watertown were changed in 1912. Some streets also had address changes before; certain properties may have had as many as three different numbers.

Beginning in 1928, phone numbers are listed next to names, an asterisk precedes the house number if the person owns the property, and a † symbol precedes the number if the person owns an automobile.

Choose a year to view/download the corresponding PDF file, then search by using Ctrl+F.

1871   1874
1880   1882   1884   1889
1890   1893   1895   1897
1901   1905   1907   1909
1910   1912   1914   1915   1917   1919
1921   1923   1926   1927   1928
1930   1931   1933   1935   1937   1939