UW's AHC Finishes Major Digitization Project

April 13, 2010
Photography studio
This shot of Henning Svenson's photography studio, from 1940, is among the images in his vast collection.

The American Heritage Center (AHC) -- the University of Wyoming's manuscript repository, university archives and rare books library -- has completed a project to digitize and preserve thousands of photographic negatives from early 20th century Laramie photographer Henning Svenson and his studio, the Ludwig-Svenson Studios.

Svenson, who emigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1903, and eventually settled in Laramie in 1905, was the primary commercial and studio photographer in early Laramie. He was known for his portraiture of Laramie residents and scenes of the surrounding area including Laramie, the Snowy Range, Fox Park, Happy Jack and Sand Creek.

Most notably, the collection depicts the changing customs and habits surrounding life in Laramie and the early development of the University of Wyoming in the first decades of the 20th Century.

A report completed by an appraiser several years ago noted that, "the time period (of the collection) chronicles the effects of industrialization on this small town and the changes the town has gone through, from the effects of the railroad to the introduction of the automobile." The report adds that the collection "represents a living history of the town and region."

In February 2009, the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund awarded the AHC a grant to digitize and preserve images from this collection. In all, the AHC digitized 3,916 of the most notable images from the collection, and preserved 2,500 of these fragile photographic negatives by duplicating to film.

All of the images are available online from the AHC's digital collections Web site at: http://digitalcollections.uwyo.edu:8180/luna/servlet/ahc-ludwig~1~1.

The collection was donated to the AHC by Anne and Even Brande of Laramie. Anne is a descendent of Henning Svenson and owner of Ludwig Photography, where she continues the documentation of Laramie's people and places.

The AHC's collections focus on Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West and nationally on the topics of environment and conservation, the mining and petroleum industries, air and rail transportation, the performing arts (particularly radio, television, film, and popular music), journalism, US military history and book history.

To learn more about the AHC, go to the official Web site at http://ahc.uwyo.edu.


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