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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 Post Avenue.