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Peoples Yellow Pages 1972 promo poster i

The Boston People's Yellow Pages was a reference guide and sourcebook produced by the Cambridge, Mass group / collective Vocations for Social Change. The People's Yellow Pages first appeared in the Spring of 1971 and had at least yearly updated editions printed through the late 1970s, printing 20,000 or more copies at its peak. The latest edition we have seen of the Boston / Cambridge edition is from 1980 – 1981.

 

Vocations for Social Change also produced work-related pamphlets in the mid-1970s and a book called No Bosses Here: A Manual On Working Collectively in late 1976.

​Other editions of the People's Yellow Pages were published throughout the country in the 1970s, from San Francisco to New Orleans, Portland, OR to Minneapolis. Many of these were a direct result of an important  instructional / How-To book produced by Vocations for Social Change in September 1972 called Getting Together A People’s Yellow Pages: An Overground Underground Toward Social Change.

A description / mission statement, from the 1973 Boston edition:

The People's Yellow Pages is a directory of groups and individuals who are working for radical change of our lives and institutions. Most of the people listed in this directory are trying to live and work in new ways -- ways they believe will lead toward real change, ways that value the person rather than the product and that live out values of openness and cooperation. Many are resisting unjust institutions of our society -- corporations, the military, prisons. Others are working for radical change from within the system by coming together with others in their workplaces to challenge sex roles, racism, and alienating structures. Still others are building new, alternative institutions, such as free schools, food cooperatives and non-capitalist businesses.

The People's Yellow Pages is a way to provide information on the many social change efforts in the Boston area -- information which is not easily available elsewhere. This information gives us a sense of the growth and strength these groups represent. But the Yellow Pages is more than just information. It is also an attempt to do other things: to organize and empower people by connecting them to those listed and to each other; to provide models for people who want to start alternative institutions; to facilitate more communication among the groups listed; and perhaps most importantly, to begin building here in Boston what we see as a cornerstone of a changed or new society -- a real community.

We hope the People's Yellow Pages can be a tool in building such a community. We hope it can be a way for all of us to begin divorcing ourselves from a system which uses and cripples people and to begin building a new, life-affirming one. We hope it will provide a way for us to support one another, reach out to others, and share in this creation of a new society. As such, the People's Yellow Pages is not advertising; it is not a place for those listed to get more business and make more money, nor for those of us using it to get cheap labor or groovy items. The People's Yellow Pages grows out of our belief in nonviolence as a force for social change and our vision of a new society.


-- The VSC Collective

A description / mission statement, from the 1976 Boston edition:

The Boston People's Yellow Pages is a social change sourcebook. In sections from Housing to Aging, from Food to Music, and from Political Action to Welfare, the People's Yellow Pages gives people information and contacts which they can use to take control of their lives - by living cheaply, by challenging oppressive institutions, and by starting cooperative groups that meet their basic needs.

Coming Soon: An interview with Vocations for Social Change / People's Yellow Pages founding member Devon Davidson [from Feb 2020]

Selections from the first 1971 Boston edition

[Lynn Lazar Archives, Devon Davidson Archives]

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All pages of Getting Together A People’s Yellow Pages: An Overground Underground Toward Social Change (September 1972)

[Lynn Lazar Archives, Devon Davidson Archives]

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Selections from the 1973 Boston edition

[Lynn Lazar Archives, Devon Davidson Archives, Brian Coleman Archives]

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Selections from the 1976 Boston edition

[Brian Coleman Archives]

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Selections from the 1980 - 1981 Boston edition

[Lynn Lazar Archives]

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Editions of People's Yellow Pages and related publications from other cities, 1970s

[Brian Coleman Archives]

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Vocations for Social Change publications

and pamphlets, early-/mid-1970s

[Devon Davidson Archives, Lynn Lazar Archives, Brian Coleman Archives]

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