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A.L. Ensley Collection

Identifier: MSS 09-07

Content Description

The collection includes two hundred photographic glass plate negatives taken by A.L. Ensley. Subjects of the negatives include: individual and family portraits; the Hog Rock Mine at Webster, N.C.; mining and/or railroad operations; town views; schools, stores, and other structures; the Sylva flood of 1901; scenery; people on horseback or in carriages; and views of Tampa, Florida.


  • Creation: 1949 - 1960


Conditions Governing Use

No publication fee is made for use of Western Carolina University Library special collections material in scholarly publications. The Library retains sole right to judge what constitutes a non-scholarly or commercial publication. Permission to publish commercially, in circumstances where the Library is qualified to grant it, requires proper authorization. Please contact Special Collections at for more information.

Biographical / Historical

Abraham Lincoln Ensley was born November 23, 1865 in Jackson County to Wilson Coleman Ensley and Mary Ann Parris. He married Laura Louisa Sherrill on September 10, 1885 and together they had eight children.

By profession, Ensley was a farmer in the Cope Creek region. He was a deacon in the Baptist church and he also was one of the first commercial photographers in Jackson County. He built a home darkroom where he mixed the necessary chemicals and developed pictures from 5” by 7” glass plate negatives, as well as making his own prints. He taught his brother-in-law George Dexter Sherrill the process and techniques involved in photography and Sherrill went on to establish Sherril’s Studio in Waynesville in 1903. Ensley’s son Harry later told J. D. McRorie of the Sylva Herald that his father stopped making photographs in 1910 or 1911.


3.5 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

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Related Materials

Images from this collection are viewable online at Southern Appalachian Digital Collections.

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Repository Details

Part of the Hunter Library - Special Collections Repository

Cullowhee United States