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Borderlands: From the Editors 18 (1999)

A unique resource of faculty edited college student articles on the history and culture of the El Paso, Juárez, and Southern New Mexico regions.

The 1800s in El Paso: The Editor's Column

Article first published in Vol. 18, 1999.

By Ruth Vise, Faculty Editor and Advisor

This year's Borderlands explores the El Paso area during the 1800s. We have included stories on several major figures and events that helped shape this border area.

English 3112 students who researched these topics and others discovered that El Paso indeed has a colorful history. Some discovered that most of Southwest once belonged to Mexico and to Spain before that. They researched various aspects of Mexican War, the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty and the Gadsden Purchase.

List of editors with drawing of train. 

They also learned that before anyone else was in this area, Native Americans roamed these lands. The culture and lives of American Indians became more endangered as settlers came from the east, the south, the north.

The buffalo on which so many western tribes depended were slaughtered to make way for the railroad. Their people were placed on reservations, sent to strange lands, imprisoned, and many tribes totally disappeared. A few, such as the Apaches, struggled to survive and even thrive.

Other students learned about early El Paso "developers," including Juan Maria Ponce de León, Benjamin Franklin Coons, James Magoffin, Hugh Stephenson, Anson Mills and others. El Paso still reflects the influence of these pioneers who recognized the potential of the Pass.

Several students researched the Buffalo Soldiers, units of black military men who not only helped protect the western frontier but also helped in building the infrastructure - roads, railways, telegraph lines - of a budding civilization in the West.

Historical research papers are particularly difficult to write because authorities often do not agree on dates and other facts. Academic writing differs from journalistic writing, and what works in a research paper doesn't always translate into a feature article.

In putting together this issue, I had the invaluable help of editors Chris Fumagalli and Luisa Villegas, excellent students and writers. Gabriela Guzman provided the art work and contributed to the article on the railroad. Danny Martinez photographed area landmarks to provide other illustrations. You four are terrific!

Joe Old and Daryl Troyer, my colleagues and friends, also worked steadily over several weeks, editing and making suggestions to improve the articles. They also entertained me while pointing out egregious errors I made in final drafts. And they did all this for nothing more than a pat on the back and a blue pencil. Sorry those blue pencils didn't arrive in time, guys! Thank you, Joe and Daryl - editors, teachers, gentlemen.

Sincere thanks to Jeanne Foskett, Division Dean of Arts & Communication, a longtime supporter of Borderlands, and to the El Paso Times which continues to support our project by inserting this issue in a Sunday edition.

At the end of the research process, students have not only learned some important history about their city, state and country, they often have a different perspective about El Paso. It has become an important place, a place they can be proud of. I thank all of the English 3112 students who wrote for and illustrated Borderlands.

Finally, I thank my daughter April who has encouraged my work and given me the support I need each year to produce this publication. Happy Sweet 16!

We hope you enjoy this issue of Borderlands!

Color photo of Ruth Vise


From the Editors

Article first published in Vol. 18, 1999.

By Chris Fumagalli and Luisa Villegas

As an El Pasoan, I have been blessed with many opportunities El Paso Community College has offered me the past two years. I needed a strong foundation to build the confidence to follow through with each course. I found that with my peers, instructors and family.

Last year, I had the chance to write for Borderlands. Ms. Vise felt I understood the material that her classes had worked on so hard and I could condense them into feature stories capturing the essence of the life and history of El Paso. This year, Borderlands looks at El Paso during the 1800s, a time when El Paso went through tremendous changes.


Image caption: 1999 Borderlands Staff Front: Gabriela Guzman & Ruth E. Vise Back: Luisa Villegas, Chris Fumagalli and Danny Martinez

I especially want to thank the students in Ms. Vise's classes for their hard work in making Borderlands a success. A big thanks to El Paso historian Leon Metz whose works are invaluable to our project and to artist Tom Lea for the use of two drawings. Thanks to the rest of the Borderlands staff -- Luisa, Danny and Gabriela -- for their dedication and Ms. Ruth Vise for believing in me.

Chris Fumagalli, Editor

When Ms. Vise asked me to be assistant editor for Borderlands, I was shocked but honored. At first I was a bit nervous, but as time progressed I developed confidence. The long hours of hard work helped me understand the long process of this student publication.

Editing 3112 English research papers and turning them into articles has been educational. The students' work demonstrates great effort, and I have learned much about the history of El Paso during the 1800s. This experience has increased my know1edge in the publishing field, and the long hours at the library and the computer have paid off.

I now appreciate the importance and responsibility of the student editors. We all had good and bad days, but I enjoyed every minute of the editing process. I thank my supportive husband Gabriel and little angels Celina and Danielle for putting up with my attitude and my absence from home. A million thanks go to Ms. Vise, for she has been a great role model for me. 

Luisa Villegas, Assistant Editor

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