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“I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.”

- From Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe

Since being published in the first half of the twentieth century, the titles of Thomas Wolfe’s novels Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again have appeared thousands of times in all things Wolfe-related. The two iconic phrases, however, appear a surprising number of times in ways having nothing to do with Thomas Wolfe or his writings. They are found in cartoons, newspaper headlines, advertisements, magazine covers, children’s toys, etc. Below are a few examples from the Aldo P. Magi Collection on Thomas Wolfe of how Wolfe’s words have been used over the past 100 years. And while you’re browsing, consider joining lovers of all things Wolfe when they gather for the 36th annual meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society in Chapel Hill on Friday.

Look Homeward Lassie

“Look Homeward, Lassie,” View-Master reels, 1965

"You Can't Blow Home Again"

You Can’t Blow Home Again by Herb Payson, New York: Hearst Books/William Morrow and Company, 1984

Look Homeward Angels

“Look Homeward Angels,” Charlie’s Angels 10th Anniversary, People, 20 October 1986

Look homeward, Angelenos

“Look homeward, Angelenos,” The Herald Sun, 30 January 1994

Providence

“Sometimes, you can go home again.” Providence, aired on NBC, 1999-2002

“Much is different between Massachusetts and North Carolina — our geography, our industries, our crops and our problems. You have sent us your hurricanes — and taken our textiles mills in exchange.

“Much is different — but much more is the same. Our borders and your borders extend back to the Atlantic. Our history and your history extend back to the earliest days of this nation — indeed the earliest days of this continent’s settlement. Our universities and your universities are noted throughout the land. We take pride in the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock — but they were preceded by the English colony on Roanoke Island in 1585. We take pride in our native sons who helped draft the Declaration of Independence — but they were preceded by the Mecklenburg Declaration and the Halifax Resolution for Independence. We had the Boston Tea Party — you had the Edenton Tea Party….”

– From remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, North Carolina Democratic Club Dinner, Washington, D.C., March 21, 1959

“How Much Does It Cost to Book Your Favorite Band?” asks Priceonomics (May 16) — and by golly it has the answers, thanks to a booking-agency list provided by an anonymous source. These numbers don’t include expenses and seem only ballpark-reliable, but of course the North Carolinians caught my eye….

James Taylor:  $1 million plus

Avett Brothers:  $175,000 to $250,000

Clay Aiken:  $85,000 to $100,000 plus [stump speech included?]

Kellie Pickler: $60,000 to $80,000

Ben Folds: $40,000 to $50,000

Charlie Daniels Band: $40,000 to $50,000

George Clinton:  $20,000 to $25,000

“Kasell got his first radio gig when he was 16; he hosted a late-night, easy-listening music show on WGBR in Goldsboro, N.C., playing romantic songs and waxing poetic about young lovers all through the evening. (You’ll want to click the listen link at the top of this page to hear a clip of that!)

“Once he got a job on-air, only one thing kept him off: He was drafted in the 1950s. After his Army service, WGBR welcomed Kasell back by giving him his very own morning drive-time music program, ‘The Carl Kasell Show.’ ”

– From ” ‘I’ve Enjoyed Every Minute Of It’: Carl Kasell On His 60 Years In Radio” at NPR (May 16)

Let’s hope Kasell finds his final appearance as official judge and scorekeeper of NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” almost as memorable as his tour of Wilson Library.

 

“In the late 1940s, when the Red Sox were in Washington to play the Senators, Williams received a telegram from a doctor in North Carolina who was attending a dying boy. The doctor said the boy talked about him constantly and wondered if Williams could send him an autographed ball to give him a lift. Ted flew down [to Raleigh] to deliver the ball in person and returned to Washington that night.”

– From “The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams” by Ben Bradlee Jr. (2013)

According to Bradlee, the often-cantankerous Williams made at least three such long-distance deliveries, always avoiding publicity about his generosity.

John Blythe has detailed Williams’ earlier stay in Chapel Hill for Pre-Flight School.

 

Ken's Yankee Chili - What's Cookin' in 1822

Ken’s Yankee Chili  from What’s cookin’? in 1822.

Yankee Country Ham - A Dash of Down East

Yankee Country Ham from A dash of Down East.

Northern Spaghetti - Favorite Fancies

Northern Spaghetti from Favorite fancies cook book.

Yankee Doodle Salad - Family Circle

Yankee Doodle Salad from The Family circle cookbook.

Yankee Noodle Bake-The Clockwatcher's Cookbook

Yankee Noodle Bake from The clock watcher’s cook book.

Yankee Seafood Casserole - Tarheels Cooking for Ronald's Kids

Yankee Seafood Casserole from Tarheels cooking for Ronald’s kids.

Yankee Slaw - What's Cookin' in 1822

Yankee Slaw from What’s cookin’? in 1822.

When the Thomas Wolfe Society meets later this month, they’ll honor Thomas Wolfe the writer. We’d like to take a moment to salute Thomas Wolfe the actor.

In 1919, Wolfe was an eighteen-year-old college student in a playwriting class at UNC, which was taught by Carolina Playmakers founder Frederick “Proff” Koch. The student playwrights’ first plays produced on stage included Wolfe’s The Return of Buck Gavin. In the absence of a willing volunteer to play the title character, Koch convinced a reluctant Wolfe to take on the role.

When Thomas Wolfe made his stage debut as the mountain outlaw Buck Gavin, he wore a button-down shirt, pants tucked into tall boots, and this belt, which is one of our May Artifacts of the Month.

Belt worn by Thomas Wolfe

Photo of Thomas Wolfe play

Wolfe appeared alongside Leila Nance Moffatt, who played Mary Gavin. Mary wore a dress, apron, and a pair of brown shoes.

dress and apron worn in Thomas Wolfe play

Shoes worn in Thomas Wolfe play

All of these items can be seen through June 10 in the North Carolina Collection Gallery’s exhibit Making a People’s Theater: Proff Koch and the Carolina Playmakers.

One reason aluminum was so costly [in 1884] was because it was essential to use the highest purity aluminum oxide available, which happened to be corundum….

“The best crystals were being mined commercially in the gravels, stream beds, mountain sides and soils of the Carolinas, mostly in the Cowee River Valley of Macon County, North Carolina.

“Crystals of corundum are more familiar to us as sapphires and rubies. Rubies are the red ones. Any other color is called sapphire. They are the same gemstones  rockhounds have been seeking at Carolina gem mines every summer for years…..

“Next to diamond in hardness, corundum crystals at that time were being used primarily for manufacture into ‘jewels’ for watches and other instruments requiring precision, wear-resistant bearings. Some were fine enough to be fashioned into jewelry,  which was why Tiffany’s operated some of the deposits. Some were crushed and used as coatings on ‘emery’ paper.

“And some were used as the ‘ore’ for smelting that new metal, aluminum, which possessed the special properties the builders of the Washington Monument found so attractive [for constructing its pyramid-shaped cap]….”

– From  What does the Washington Monument have to do with the gems of North Carolina?”  by Dr. Philip Garwood at the Cape Fear Community College Department of Geology (Oct. 8, 2012)

The monument reopened to the public today, nearly three years after suffering earthquake damage.

Now about the editor’s note and the ‘small southern college’—if you see anyone who has also read the note, for God’s sake make plain what I think you understand already—that I had nothing to do with it and didn’t see it until it was published. I do not deny that I may be capable of several small offenses—such as murder, arson, highway robbery, and so on—but I do deny that I have that sort of snob-ism in me. Whoever wrote the note probably put in ‘small southern college’ because he did not remember where I did go, or because, for certain reasons connected with the book, he thought it advisable not to be too explicit.

And after all, Ben, back in the days when you and I were beardless striplings—’forty or fifty years ago,’ as Eddie Greenlaw used to say—the Hill was (praise God!) ‘a small southern college.’ I think we had almost 1000 students our Freshman year, and were beginning to groan about our size. So far from forgetting the blessed place, I think my picture of it grows clearer every year: it was as close to magic as I’ve ever been, and now I’m afraid to go back and see how it is changed. I haven’t been back since our class graduated. Great God! how time has flown, but I am going back within a year (if they’ll let me).

–Thomas Wolfe in a letter to UNC classmate Benjamin Cone, July 29, 1929. Look Homeward, Angel, which features the college town Pulpit Hill, was published in October of the same year.

Chapel Hill will serve as the gathering place for Wolfe scholars and fans on May 23-24 as they assemble for the annual meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society. This year’s conference, themed “Wolfe in His Time, Wolfe in Our Time,” will include a reading by Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina’s poet laureate, in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room in the Wilson Special Collections Library at 7:30 pm on May 23. Bathanti’s appearance is free and open to the general public. Other conference programs require advance registration and include talks by Wolfe scholars and enthusiasts. For more information, call 919-962-1172.

“WILKESBORO, N.C.—Each month, Irene Triplett collects $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a pension payment for her father’s military service — in the Civil War.

“More than 3 million men fought and 530,000 men died in the conflict between North and South. Pvt. Mose Triplett joined the rebels, deserted on the road to Gettysburg, defected to the Union and married so late in life to a woman so young that their daughter Irene is today 84 years old — and the last child of any Civil War veteran still on the VA benefits rolls….”

– From “Still Paying for the Civil War” by Michael M. Phillips in the Wall Street Journal (May 9)

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