Helen Farrington Kister: First Curator of the El Paso County Historical Society.

Photo Credit: El Paso Times

Helen Farrington was  the first curator of the El Paso Historical Society.Farrington succeeded Dorothy Ormsby as director of the El Paso Main Library in 1945. Ormsby was acting director , who wa appointed in 1943, after the sudden death of Maud Durlin Suilvan. Farrington was born in Chicago and graduated from Library School from the University of California. Farrington was first assistant librarian of the Art and Music Department of the Los Angeles Library.

Farrington and her library board of directors wanted to fulfill the dream of Maud Sullivan, which was to build a new library downtown to replace the dilapidated Carnegie building. Farrington was also very much interested in southwest architecture and wanted the new building to show that influence. Farrington sought prominent librarian architect, Alfred M Gitciens,while they  were both attending a  Architecture Institute  in Chicago. Gitciens came to El Paso and did the survey for the city in 1947.

Farrington also campaigned vigorously for a passage of bond to pay for the new building and other library services such as a book mobile. Farrington campaigned from her hospital bed, after breaking her legs. The bond passed and the Library moved into the new building. Parts of the old building still exists today and along with a new addition, it still serves as the home of the El Paso Main Library. Farrington also served as president of the Southwest and American Library Association. Farrington also conducted historical research for scholars and researchers. Farrington retired in 1955 and married Fredrick Kister and died in 1964 in Lafayette, Arkansas.

Joseph R.  Longo,

EPCHS Curator and  Archive Committee Chair.

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.