Archival Collections

The El Paso County Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling the El Paso Region’s history and culture. We aim to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. Over 20,000 pictures have been digitally archived at the El Paso County Historical Society. They range from the 1880s to current times. They are arranged by subject matter including the city, buildings, businesses, people, churches, time periods, street scenes, the Mexican revolution, various wars, slides, and others. We also have the Risinger Photo Studio Collection. Other photo collections Include some family collections of the Ponce, Burges, Perrenot, Shield, Wensley, Love,Usiner, Servin, Anderson, and Ashley’s families.

The El Paso County Historical has more than 50 scrapbooks relating to the  El Paso Genealogy Society, area garden clubs, 3 mayoral scrapbooks, family memories, school, and special events including the Sun Carnival, Mexican Revolution, and Taft-Diaz Meeting. Other scrapbooks include Harry Mitchell, The McGinty Cub, Otis Aultman, Pan American  Pilot Club, Souvenir of El Paso, Stevens-Darybshire Family, and the Julius Buckler Photographic Album. Maps in our collection range from the beginning of El Paso in 1859 to approximately the 1970s and cover the city, neighborhoods, and southern New Mexico.

Our archives contain thousands of documents including Chamber of Commerce reports, government reports, private reports, bank publicity, notifications, sheet music, letters, and small publications. Some of the oldest documents include a Spanish survey of the Land and Water Rights of the City of Concepcion, Chihuahua dated 1639; and legal documents signed by members of the Franklin Coons Family, one of the early El Paso settlers. These documents include legal papers that are dated 1826. We are honored to have the William Deane Hawkins Collection including his Congressional Medal of Honor. Some of our other collections include the Pioneer Association, Sun City Promenades Square Dance Club, Lower Vally Woman’s Collection, Paul O. Lance, Burges-Perrenot Family, White-Rickard Family, Hague Family, Anita Blair, Elizabeth Hooks Kelly, Taft-Diaz Meeting, Mary R. Haynes,  Felix Martinez, Frances Segulia, Elias Bonillas, James Waddell, the Chamzial Settlement, Harry Mitchell, Helen Shea Keleher, Larry Francis Collections and the El Paso Ministerial Alliance Records. We also have business records for Neff-Stiles, Albert Mathias, Upstairs Theatre, El Paso Brick Company, and Kelly and Pollard Pharmacy. Maps in our collection range from the beginning of El Paso in 1859 to approximately the 1980s and cover the city, neighborhoods, and southern New Mexico.

The Society has various publications including over 500 annuals, representing most of El Paso’s schools, and city directories dating backing to 1886 to 2011 available to researchers. We also have past issues of the Password (1956-Present), New Mexico Historical Review/The Journal of Arizona History/Southwestern Historical Quarterly, El Paso & Juarez History Manuscripts, UTEP Southwestern Studies Series, and the Pipeliner (El Paso National Gas  Newsletter).

We also have hundreds of books including many rare, and antique books including a collection of illustrated historic children’s books collected by El Paso Librarian, Elizabeth Hooks Kelly. The Society also has scores of 3-D items like a textile collection and historic furniture.


Exhibit: Preserving Local History: El Paso County Historical Society 1953-1986.

Preserving Local History: El Paso County Historical Society 1953-1986. Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been the driving force of the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; share that history with the public; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to […]

The Lorenzen Family Collection: ‘How We Cook in El Paso;

By Joseph Longo This copy of the 1926  cookbook “How We Cook in El Paso”  is part of the  Lorenzen Family Collection. It belonged to Ada Lane Lorenzen, who was an active civic leader and served as president of the El Paso Woman’s Club. She was also a charter member of the El Paso County […]

Here’s how Texas women received right to vote and what role El Paso had

Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States of America says that the “…Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof: but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations…”  Amendment X strengthens state control […]

Women as Agents of Social Change: El Paso’s Social Housekeepers, 1886-1930

Women as Agents of Social Change: El Paso’s Social Housekeepers, 1886-1930 Red Cross women organizing for a magazine drive during World War I.      (Image located in El Paso County Historical Society archives) 2020  EPCHS Women’s History Exhibit During the late 19th century and early 20th century, El Paso women found their public and […]

Hague Collection: The Century Cookbook

Hague Collection: The Century Cookbook One of the early recipe books that the El Paso County Historical Society has in its archive is the Century Cookbook by Mary Ronald. It was first published in 1895 in England. This book is considered by scholars to be culturally significant to American Culinary history. The cookbook was republished […]

Ashley’s Mexican Restaurant and Canning

Ashley’s Mexican Restaurant and Canning was founded in 1931 by George Ashley. The sole investor in the business was George’s business-minded mother, Ida Ashley. Ashley’s Mexican Restaurant was considered a pioneer in the reinvention of Mexican restaurants in El Paso. The business was family run, with George’s wife and children playing a role. Some of the […]

Photos: Ernst and Olga Kohlberg

Ernst Kohlberg, founder of the first cigar factory in the Southwest, was born in 1857 in Prussia came to El Paso with Solomon C. Schutz in 1875. Kohlberg agreed to work for Schutz, without pay for up to a year, to pay for his passage to Texas. After working for Schutz for eight months, Schutz […]

The El Paso Humane Society: Organized Dec 29, 1947

The El Paso Humane Society was first organized in 1903 in the office of Col. Bean in the Mills Building and they got the city council to pass a law against animal cruelty the next year. The Society, however, wandered astray and was reorganized in 1906 by a group of women including Mrs. W.S. Tilton. […]