El Paso Video Histories
Video interviews with notable El Pasoans (or those with ties to the region)
1st woman mayor:
article & video
article & video
article & video
Border Studies at EPCC
NW Library and EPCC Links
Other Local Libraries
We do NOT have the resources to assist with genealogical research.
For GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH please contact:
*El Paso Genealogical Society
Borderlands Web Issue, from the Editor
Article first published in Volume 31, 2013-2014
By Ruth Vise, Editor and Faculty Advisor
Welcome to the first online-only Borderlands issue! No, this is not a permanent change in our publishing policy. It’s a one-time solution for some problems that we experienced last year. Please be assured that we will resume producing a print edition of Borderlands this summer, which so many of our readers enjoy, and that the content will also be available online. But for this one time, please indulge us by reading the following articles online. You will notice that they are much longer than our usual articles, more than twice the usual length in some cases. For that reason, we are offering only five articles, but a great deal of time and research has gone into the writing of these pieces.
As a child growing up in the mining district of New Mexico near Silver City, I was aware that we had to guard against a disease called polio, and we lined up for our shots. Sometimes a classmate would disappear and later return with leg braces and crutches. We heard about a hospital in Hot Springs or T or C (Truth or Consequences), where polio victims went for treatment. One little boy in our area spent many years at the Carrie Tingley Hospital for Crippled Children, as it was then called.
Several students researched this amazing hospital, built during the Depression, under the guidance of Governor Clyde Tingley and his wife Carrie, who landed in New Mexico on her way to seek treatment for another epidemic disease, tuberculosis. When polio was virtually wiped out in this country, the hospital moved to Albuquerque and continued treating children with orthopedic problems. We are once again reminded of the horrors of polio as a mysterious paralyzing disease hit California in early 2014, and a couple dozen cases of polio erupted in war-torn Syria, with hundreds more in Tajikistan, Central Africa and Somalia.
Three individuals who came from other parts of the country to make their home in El Paso are also featured. Vernus Carey made the YMCA his life’s work and was ahead of his time, encouraging children and adults to move, move, move for health reasons. He also opened the Y to women and girls and established camps for children to learn about nature. Jake Erlich was brought to El Paso as a child and quickly became taller than his playmates, reaching more than 8 feet as an adult. At a time when little was known about his condition, he could have become just a victim, but with the help of his family and friends, he lived an incredible life as a movie actor, artist and more. A young Irish nun fell in love with the Southwest and the last years of her long life were spent in the Sun City, directing the building of a beloved Catholic school: Loretto Academy. That nun was known as Mother Praxedes.
The classic Union Station downtown which is home to Amtrak’s weekly trains at one time also housed the famous Harvey House Restaurant of El Paso. Students who researched this topic found that Fred Harvey did much to develop the concept of fine dining in this country and El Pasoans enjoyed their own version of his plan to provide quality food in comfortable, attractive locations at reasonable prices.
One of the most valuable sources for our students to consult for their local history research papers is the vertical file of the El Paso Public Library Downtown. Here they (and you) can find manila folders full of newspaper articles and miscellaneous materials that librarians have gathered over the years on local figures and events. While online indexes such as LexisNexis Academic are excellent for locating more recent newspaper articles, the vertical file goes back to the early 1900s in some cases.
Obviously, research takes time and effort, and that is one of the most valuable lessons that our English 1302 research course teaches students. Our Web designer, Rachel Murphree, is also one of EPCC’s reference librarians, and she has developed a Borderlands Detective page that students are encouraged to use when choosing a topic. This provides them with early sources and may indicate sites students will have to visit in person. Thank you, Rachel, for all your valuable assistance! And thanks go to Helen Bell who is so good about talking with my students about sources for their papers.
The library staff at Northwest is invaluable to all our students, and Monica Wong regularly goes above and beyond in providing us what we need. As always, I thank my colleague Joe Old for reading and giving me his valuable advice on our articles just because he thinks we’re worth it — you’re the best, Joe!
Isabel Hernandez, student editor for this online issue, will continue as editor for the next issue. She expanded her horizons last summer by visiting Brazil for two weeks during the Pope’s visit and World Youth Day. She met young people from all over the world, learning a great deal about different cultures. I want to thank Isabel for sticking it out and being patient during all of our difficulties. I look forward to working with her again. Thanks also to all my English 1302 students. Next issue we will also feature some of the “Best of Borderlands,” a compilation of some of our favorite articles over the past 23 years.
Brew a cup of tea or coffee or grab that bottle of water and settle in for an online read. If your reading gets interrupted, don’t worry about saving that paper issue somewhere so that the neat freak in your house doesn’t recycle it before you are through reading all the articles. Just open your computer and come back to our online issue and find your place again. Take your time, digest the work of our students and send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or address snail mail to Ruth E. Vise, Borderlands, El Paso Community College, P. O. Box 20500, El Paso, TX 79998.