Have you ever wished you had a directory to the past?
The Henderson's Directories contain addresses of citizens and businesses dating as far back as 1905. Historical research for the directories was done by expert staff who gathered information for the various cities and regions by visiting every home and business in person. These agents would secure then name of every person who makes the city his or her home, gathering information about them pertaining to their occupation, business address and residential address.
Henderson's Directories can be used for many different types of research. Historians, genealogists geographers, teachers and others continue to find new ways to make the most of these digitized directories. Uses include:
- Tracing the rapid and substantial development of cities across the prairies
- Detailing the geographical location of businesses over their lifespan
- Studying the ebbs and tides of the development of residential and commercial spaces
- Discovering population and settlement patterns
- Observing the use of advertising within the directory, and seeing the changing services and products of a developing region
The Henderson's Directories developed as a business tool for rapidly growing towns and cities. It was a means of providing information to potential business users both locally and nationally (and even internationally, if one includes American business interests). The directories provide information on:
- public buildings
- boards of trade
- government offices, including local, provincial and federal
- law courts
- police departments
- public officials
- public departments
- press outlets
- city council and committees
- fraternal societies
- theater and other places of recreation and amusement
Chamber of Commerce information was also typically included in each publication. This would include information such as:
- the location of the city
- cultural background
- manufacturing strengths
- recent business finds
- information about police and fire departments, electricity supply, power, waterworks, gas and telephones
- climate information as it relates to potential leisure activities
Henderson's Directories can also be used to trace the infrastructure development of the city, including the development of streets and sidewalks, the value of the buildings erected in the past year of the directory (including schools and other educational facilities, churches and parks), information on the money appropriated to build public buildings, and the potential population growth over the coming year.
We have digitized a large cross section of Henderson's Directories from prairie cities across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. All will be full text searchable and available to you to view for free through the Peel's Prairie Provinces website.