Thomas Wolfe Monument dedication ceremony, June 1, 1969 (Image via UNC)
Thomas Wolfe Monument at its first location (image via UNC)
This monument honors author and UNC alumnus Thomas Wolfe. It is an 850 pound bronze bas-relief mounted on a freestanding brick wall. The relief depicts an angel's wing, which is a reference to Wolfe’s novel “Look Homeward, Angel.”
The monument was the idea of UNC alumnus Armistead Maupin, was designed by UNC art professor Richard Kinnaird, was forged by Strickland Foundry in Richmond, Virginia, and was sponsored by the UNC Class of 1966. It was dedicated June 1, 1969.
The monument originally stood at the northeast corner of Person Hall, but was soon moved to Gifford Court at the northeast corner of New East in 1972. Though the New East location was more appropriate, as Wolfe had a direct connection to the building, the memorial received few visitors and fell into disrepair in that location. After a years-long campaign by Wolfe admirers, the University restored the bronze and mounted it on a free-standing brick wall in the memorial courtyard between Murphey and Greenlaw Halls. A restoration of the monument was undertaken in 2006.
The inscription reads:
Front: "OH LOST, AND BY THE WIND GRIEVED, GHOST, COME BACK AGAIN"
Rear: "THOMAS WOLFE / UNC CLASS OF 1920 / REMEMBERING SPEECHLESSLY WE / SEEK THE GREAT FORGOTTEN LANGUAGE, / THE LOST LANE-END INTO HEAVEN, A / STONE, A LEAF, AN UNFOUND DOOR. / WHERE? WHEN? / LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL / 1929"
Thomas Wolfe Monument at its current location (image via UNC)