Jan Hensley is a collector with a passion.

More than 40 years ago, while serving in the U.S. Navy, Hensley began collecting the work of Thomas Wolfe, an interest that grew out of his acting performance in a summer stock production of “Look Homeward, Angel.” After corresponding with Wolfe’s only surviving sibling, he began the collection that now numbers more than 1,000 items.

In 1988, Hensley began photographing North Carolina authors as he collected their works. He now has photographs of more than 300 of them, from Fred Chappell and Mary Jarrell to Lee Smith, Reynolds Price, and Clyde Edgerton. At the same time, his collection of books by North Carolina writers has grown to more than 10,000.
A collection of Hensley’s photographs will be exhibited Feb. 7 through March 11 at Jackson Library at UNCG. The exhibit, “North Carolina Writers: A Photographer’s Odyssey,” will be displayed in the second-floor lobby, outside the Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, where some of the photographs were taken.

Fred Chappell and Mary Jarrell

The exhibit, open whenever the library is open, is a selection of candid shots, as Hensley likes “to capture the sprit of the writers and their personalities.” He always works in black and white, believing that the results are more dramatic.
The library’s regular hours are 7:30 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday.
During spring break, the library will be open 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. March 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 5, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. March 6, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. March 7-10, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. March 11.