Beck’s Pocket Guide of Troy

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“Beck’s Pocket Guides are distributed each year to every Policeman and Fireman in the city, all offices in the Court House, City Hall, Jail, Troopers, Post Office Employees, Bus Drivers, Aldermen, Supervisors, Bank Employees, School Teachers and Business Houses in the City.” In 1935, Fred A. Beck’s Pocket Guide of Troy, N.Y. had grown to 96 pages and 5000 copies distributed. Filled with ads for places that no longer exist, lists of street names, elaborate intercity bus and rail schedules, and instructions on how to turn in a fire alarm, this kind of guide was once ubiquitous to any prosperous city and has completely disappeared from the landscape.

The Palace Lunch System, Architects of Appetites, is long, long gone. So are 5 digit phone numbers (or 3 if you were in the same exchange).

I like that in Fred Beck’s mind, a printing emergency was of just about the same import as the need for police or fire.

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