I have had the good fortune to be able to examine a lot of microfilms of old directories, spaced closely enough in time to be able to follow the start and end dates of many exchanges in New York City. (So far, only the borough of Manhattan, but I hope to expand this chart.) With this chart, the start and end dates of many exchanges can be determined to within approximately six months for many exchanges.
Each directory (except for some of the earliest in this set) can be characterized by two dates: the cover date, which may be a month like "May 1948," a two-season range like "Fall-Winter 1946," or a phrase such as "1939 issue" (understood as meaning the start of the named year), and the "corrected-to" date, shown on the inside as a precise date, usually about two months prior to the cover date. The "corrected-to" date is likely to be a more accurate characterization, but I have presented both in this chart.
Between each pair of consecutive directories, I have assigned a short form for the interval, which is the way this interval is represented in the alphabetic listing of New York City telephone exchanges and page on assignment of prefixes to areas around New York City. This will be a year or a pair of years. Any reference to these short forms on those pages should be understood as referring to the interval given by those two directory dates.
For each interval, two sets of exchanges will be listed, assuming neither is empty: the exchanges started in the interval, and the exchanges ended in the interval. The first will include all exchanges not found in the earlier directory listing, but added in the later one; the second group will include all exchanges present in the earlier listing, but absent in the later one.
During the World War II years, apparently no changes in exchange names were made. Directory dates, when I have them, are still given, but there is no need to assign a symbol to the inter-directory intervals, because no links to them from the alphabetic listing or anywhere else are needed.
One thing that causes some difficulty in assigning start/end dates (particularly end dates) is a certain inconsistency among the data in the directories. The earliest directories listed here had three different lists of exchanges:
It is not clear what the need for the A list is since all the information
in that list is also found in the Z list. The A list continued for
only a short time; the last directory in which it appeared was the "Winter
1931-1932" directory. The B and Z lists continue together for a
short time, but later, only the B list is found, while still later,
the Z list resumes, though for a few years in the early 1950s, the Z
list does not show all the central office numbers in those exchanges having
multiple numbers for a name. The problem with having these three different lists
is that they do not all agree in every directory; an exchange might be found in
one of the lists and not in another. Since the end date is determined by
considering the last directory with an exchange and the first directory without
it, the use of a different list will give a different end date. Because the
B list is present in all the directories, and the others are not in many
of them, the main reference here will be to the end date figured from the B
lists. If another date is indicated by considering the A and/or Z
lists, the exchange will be listed in the row for that date with a notation (A),
(Z), or (A/Z) as appropriate. Because not all directories have all the
lists, to the left of the directory date will be shown the letters A, B, and/or Z,
|Interval (short form)||Cover date||"Corrected-to" date|
|B, Z||Summer 1934||June 26, 1934|
|Late 1934||Started: PResident 4|
|Ended: DEcatur 2, HAddingway 3|
|B, Z||Winter 1934-1935||January 2, 1935|
|Early 1935||Started: (None)|
|Ended: HUguenot 4 (See Note 1), LAfayette 3 (See Note 1)|
|B (See Note 2), Z||Summer 1935||late June or early July, 1935 (See Note 2)|
|Late 1935||Started: (None)|
|Ended: CLoverdale 6 (See Note 1)|
|B, Z||Winter 1935-1936||January 2, 1936|
|Early 1936||Started: ESplanade 7, MIchigan 2 (See Note 3)|
|Ended: MIdwood 8|
|B, Z||Summer 1936||July 2, 1936|
|Late 1936||Started: CLoverdale 8|
|B, Z||Winter 1936-1937||January 4, 1937|
|Directories to be investigated|
|B||August 1940||July 3, 1940|
|Late 1940||Started: (None)|
|Ended: HAvemeyer 8, MIchigan 2 (See Note 4), MInnesota 9|
|B||February 1941||January 8, 1941|
|B||August 1941||July 10, 1941|
|B||February 1942||January 8, 1942|
|B||August 1942||July 9, 1942|
|B||February 1943||January 5, 1943|
|B||Summer-Fall 1943||July 6, 1943|
|B||Winter-Spring 1944||January 10, 1944|
|B||Fall-Winter 1944||July 18, 1944|
|B||Spring-Summer 1945||January 16, 1945|
|B||Fall-Winter 1945||July 17, 1945|
|Late 1945||Started: GEdney 4, 5, 8, 9, TAylor 7|
|B||Spring-Summer 1946||January 11, 1946|
|Early 1946||Started: ESplanade 3, NIghtingale 5|
|B||Fall-Winter 1946||July 10, 1946|
|Late 1946||Started: GEdney 6, NIghtingale 6|
|Ended: SKidmore 4 (See Note 5)|
|B||Spring-Summer 1947||January 22, 1947|
|1947||Started: CLoverdale 2, 6, DIckens 5, EVergreen 5, GLenmore 3, HYacinth 2, NIghtingale 8, 9, PResident 8, TErrace 6, ULster 3, 5, 6, 7, 9|
|Ended: CUmberland 6, DEwey 6, FOxcroft 9, JEfferson 3, MAnsfield 6, WIndsor 5, 6, 8, 9|
|B||December 1947||October 27, 1947|
|Early 1948||Started: CLoverdale 9, EVergreen 3, HYacinth 4, 8|
|B||August 1948||May 27, 1948|
|Mid-1948||Started: HYacinth 7, STerling 9, ULster 2|
|Ended: APplegate 6|
|B||February 1949||November 25, 1948|
|Early 1949||Started: EVergreen 6, HYacinth 3, ULster 4|
|B||September 1949||July 5, 1949|
|Late 1949||Started: HYacinth 6|
|B||March 1950||January 11, 1950|
NOTE 1: The copy of the Brooklyn directory dated "Summer 1935" that was microfilmed for the film I used as a reference was defective. In particular, the page containing the "corrected-to" date was missing (see Note 2 below), as well as the page containing the B list. However, in order to build this table, the individual subscriber listings were consulted, and all telephones listed with LAfayette 3 and HUguenot 4 exchanges in the Winter 1934-1935 issue appear to have been changed: the former to PResident 3 or 4 exchanges, the latter to the SOuth 8 exchange. Since no telephones in these exchanges appeared to remain, it is assumed that they were discontinued in the interval between January 2, 1935 (the "corrected-to" date of the Winter 1934-1935 issue) and June or July, 1935 (the assumed "corrected-to" date of the Summer 1935 issue). By contrast, the Summer 1935 issue did contain telephones in the CLoverdale 6 exchange which had been changed by the Winter 1935-1936 issue to the SHore Road 5 exchange, so it must be assumed that the discontinuance of this exchange was between June or July, 1935 (the assumed "corrected-to" date of the Summer 1935 issue) and January 2, 1936 (the "corrected-to" date of the Winter 1935- 1936 issue)
NOTE 2: As stated in Note 1, the copy of the Brooklyn directory dated "Summer 1935" that was microfilmed for the film I used as a reference was defective. Based on the "corrected-to" dates of the directories in the previous and subsequent years, a date in the last week in June or the first week in July is likely, however.
NOTE 3: The first appearance of the MIchigan 2 exchange in the Brooklyn B list was in the Summer 1936 issue. However, this must be considered not as the start of the MIchigan 2 exchange, but as the start of its use in Brooklyn; prior to that it was a purely Queens exchange.
NOTE 4: The last appearance of the Havemeyer 8 and MIchigan 2 exchanges in the Brooklyn B list was in the August 1940 issue. However, this must be considered not as the end of these exchanges, but as the end of their use in Brooklyn; they continued as purely Queens exchanges.
NOTE 5: The B list that was used as a source for this table implied that the SKidmore 4 exchange was discontinued in the 1947-1948 period; however all SKidmore 4 telephones listed in the Fall-Winter 1946 directory were changed to CLoverdale 7 numbers by the Spring-Summer 1947 directory, implying that the changes should be given as taking place in the late 1946 period. The earlier date will be shown because it appears to be the correct end date for these exchanges, despite the entries in the B list.
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Last modified February 19, 2015.