Looking back

Hawley’s successful 19th-century photographer

From the archives
Posted 5/20/20

Ludolph (Louis) Hensel was undoubtedly the most prolific chronicler of late-19th and early-20th-century life in the area around Hawley, PA, leaving an invaluable record of people and places. Hensel …

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Looking back

Hawley’s successful 19th-century photographer

Posted

Ludolph (Louis) Hensel was undoubtedly the most prolific chronicler of late-19th and early-20th-century life in the area around Hawley, PA, leaving an invaluable record of people and places. Hensel was the son of Louis Hensel, who was born in 1818 in Braunsweig, Germany. The father had a long and colorful life, chronicled in his book, “Louis Hensel: My Life in America.” 

On the 1880 U. S. census, father and son were living in Westfall Township, Pike County, near Matamoras, where the father was listed as “Actor.” From other sources, we know Ludolph was already working as a photographer in Hawley by 1878 and by 1882 was prosperous enough to build a studio. Sadly, in 1887 the studio was destroyed in a massive fire in Hawley, but he soon rebuilt. The Hawley Public Library owns a collection of Hensel glass negatives from 1887 to his death in 1927 and has reproduced hundreds of pictures from the original negatives, which can be viewed during regular library hours. 

From the collection of the Wayne County Historical Society.

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