— "My Life in America Before, During and After the Civil War: Includes Meeting President Abraham Lincoln," is a collection of letters written by Louis Hensel and translated by Sigrid Wilshinsky.
The letters tell of his adventures in America and includes meeting Abraham Lincoln in the White House (a documented meeting and the only eye-witness report) while pretending to be a translator to various Native American tribes.
It also includes life in New York City in the mid 1800s, training the Union Calvary as a master horseman, his adventures as a set designer and actor in the traveling German Opera Company of New York and various intimate details of an America that was still untamed yet quickly ascending as a world powerhouse.
"Reading Hensel's letters is like peeking through a rip in the curtain of history and seeing through the eyes of one who had experienced so much," Wilshinsky says.
Wilshinsky presented a copy of the book to the Hawley Public Library. On hand to accept the gift were members of the library's board of directors.
Board President Margot Clauss expressed her gratitude to Wilshinsky and said, "This book is a wonderful addition to the library and a great read for anyone interested in history."
The Hawley Public Library houses a collection of photos taken by Louis Hensel in and around the Wayne and Pike County areas in the early 1900s. Prints of Hensel photos can be seen at the library and are available for purchase.
Louis Hensel was born in 1817 in the city of Helmstedt, located in the former Duchy of Braunschweig in Prussia (Germany).
In 1908 he died at the age of 91 in Hawley where he spent the last years of his life.
Hardcover Book: Publisher, Jo-An Books; 350 pages; five photographs by Hensel's son Ludolph (Louis) Hensel, courtesy of the Hawley Public Library.