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Stock# 92913

Extremely Rare Houston City Directory

"The Future Commercial Center of Texas"

Only 2 Copies Recorded in OCLC

Mooney & Morrison's Houston directory is among the rarest 19th century Texas city directories. The volume includes both a directory of residents and an extensive business directory. The fascinating illustrated advertisements are printed on various colors of paper. According to the preface, "The result of a thorough canvass of Houston shows 6,376 names. Taking the ratio of 4, which we find to be as correct as can be arrived at, would give her a population of 25,504." Pages 1-31 contain the "Historical" section, a nice historical overview of Houston focusing on post-Texas Revolution progress, transportation and railroad development, overview of important industry, and a chronological list of the city's officers from 1838 to 1877.

Fine Typography and Illustrations

The typography of this directory is notable for its high quality, especially on the advertising pages, which are printed on different color sheets and often incorporate excellent wood engravings. The printer himself, W. M. Hamilton, created an especially colorful full-page ad for himself, printed with red and green ink on a bright yellow sheet, facing page 137.

A selection of the notable illustrated advertisements here follows:

  • Hutchins House. Front cover, engraving of building.
  • Houston City Stables. Back cover, engraving of livery stable.
  • Young Ladies' Boarding and Day School. Miss M.B. Browne, Directress. Engraving of building.
  • R. F. Pannell. Undertaker and Furnisher. Small engraving of a horse-drawn hearse, with coffins and caskets in foreground.
  • L. Loew, dealer in Watches, Clocks and Jewelry. Train engine with Elgin Watch dial on front.
  • Foster & Weems' Fashionable Barber Shop. Congress Street, next the Bank Saloon. Illustration of two barbers plying their trade, with barber pole.

In addition to the numerous colorful pages of local advertisements for mostly Houston businesses, there is a special ad printed on card stock for Preston & Ruffini, Austin architects who specialized in public buildings, especially prisons. The ad mentions that the firm held the state "right for Mays' Patent Jail and Improvements in Prison Construction." 


This is one of the rarest of 19th century Texas city directories. OCLC locates only two examples, those at UT Arlington and San Antonio Public Library. Not in Howes. Not in Raines. Not in RBH.

Condition Description
Octavo. Original leather-backed printed boards. Gilt spine title: Houston Directory. Head and toe of spine frayed. Joint on front board separating, but holding by cords. Internally very clean and nice. [12], 225 pages plus two sections of advertising matter on different color sheets interspersed within the volume (the two groupings numbered i-xlvii and lettered A-O, respectively). Advertising on sheets pasted inside front and back board. Special advertising card for Preston & Ruffini, Architects and Superintendents, Austin, Texas tipped in facing the first page of the Business Directory. Complete.