Ken Sproson will discuss the preservation of photographer Louis Hensel’s original glass negatives in a talk at the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary on Thursday, August 16 at 11 a.m. as part of the Sanctuary’s Lectures and Lunch series.
The presentation will be held in the Blough Building on the Sanctuary grounds. A lunch will follow. There is no charge for the lecture, but there is a fee for the lunch (members of the Sanctuary $10; non-members $12). Reservations are necessary. Please call (570)253-1185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited.
Louis Hensel is likely Northeastern Pennsylvania’s best and most prolific photographer. He came to Hawley in 1878 and began his photography business in a small portable gallery. In 1882 he purchased property and built a studio with a skylight for natural lighting of his subjects. In his earliest years, Hensel spent a great deal of time taking landscape and exterior views of Hawley and the surrounding areas. As his business grew, his studio and portrait work demanded more and more time. But through the years he managed to record views of passing history – the gravity railroads, the Wallenpaupack Creek before the dam was built, and other local sites.
In July of 1887, Hawley was struck by one of the most disastrous fires in its history and Hensel’s studio was one of the many buildings totally destroyed. But by November, he had rebuilt and reopened what was called the largest and finest studio in the county. The negatives in the Hawley Library’s Hensel collection all date from 1887 to 1927, the year Hensel died. The images demonstrate Hensel’s continuing commitment to document both the people and the places of northeastern Pennsylvania and let us see various aspects of the lives of those who lived in Wayne and Pike Counties just after the turn of the 20th century.
Ken Sproson is a member of the Hensel Committee of the Hawley Public Library. Beginning in 2001, the committee scanned and cataloged over 1,400 glass plates. Ken processed the digital files to enable prints to be made that would most closely reflect Hensel’s vision. Ken’s photography expertise and extensive darkroom experience made him the perfect person for the task. Hawley Public Library has reproduced hundreds of pictures from Hensel’s original glass negatives. The pictures are available for viewing at the library during regular library hours. Prints are available for purchase with funds from the sales going to benefit the Hawley Library.
Sproson is a graduate of Royal College of Art. He was design director in the United States for Josiah Wedgwood & Sons. He also designed glass for Tiffany & Company, Buffalo China, and Oneida, Ltd. In addition to his work with the Hensel Committee, he worked with the groups that built the Hawley Railway Station and the Delaware and Hudson Exhibits in Honesdale. The canal portion of the D and H Exhibit—including a diorama of the canal— is now located in the Sanctuary’s restored Lock House in White Mills.
Page 2 of 2 - The Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary is a 600-acre property with hiking and nature trails. It is home to the Dorflinger Glass Museum and the Wildflower Music Festival. Additional information is available at: www.dorflinger.org.