Thanks to Larry Small, Director of Research at the Yellow Pages Association, I now have a photo of what the "First Directory" looked like in 1878!
This is interesting as the About.com page on The History of the Yellow Pages says that "The very first time the term yellow pages was used was in 1883. A printer working on a regular telephone directory ran out of white paper and used yellow paper instead." In 1886 Reuben H. Donnelley created the first official yellow pages directory.
Obviously the color of this "directory" cover is not yellow, but it sure has businesses in New Haven Conn. listed on it.
Since the photo is only of the front cover, I wonder if the color of the actual "listings" pages are white? Maybe the "Yellow Pages" started off being the "White Pages", which also had "Residences" (people's phone numbers) on them? I also wonder if the business names on the front cover were a way of advertising, so that people would look inside to get the contact information?
This is "relevant advertising" history trivia, but I can't think of any other tools that have brought more buyers and sellers together than Yellow Pages, directories or buyer's guides. Do you think the "Yellow Pages" started out as the "White Pages"?