The First Torrance Public Library
Henderson Library (Isabel Henderson)
The Henderson Branch Library is named after Isabel Henderson, the first
Torrance Librarian. In 1913, the first public library was established in
Torrance. The library was in the parlor of Mrs. Henderson's home located at
1804 Gramercy Avenue. The collection consisted of 300 books donated by her
cousin, Jared Sydney Torrance, the city's founder. The library was open
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m.
to 9:00 p.m.
By September 1914, the collection had increased to 510 books and 4 magazine
subscriptions. There were 193 library card holders and circulation to date for
the year as 1,935. Henderson held the post of city librarian for 22 years.
During that time, the library had several homes, including a vacated school
building on Cabrillo Avenue, the former Dominguez Land Co. office at Cabrillo
and El Prado Avenue and finally, a cottage on El Prado. Her daughter, Mrs.
Dorothy Jamieson, took over as librarian in 1935, and also held the post for
22 years. Isabel Henderson died in 1936, the same year that the library's
first permanent home, a Works Progress Administration project, opened at 1345