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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Susan Williams Graham Memorial Fountain, UNC (Chapel Hill)

  • Type

    Fountain

  • Subjects

    Historic Cultural Figures

    Educational Institutions

  • Creator

    Roger Noble Burnham, Sculptor

  • City

    Chapel Hill

  • County

    Orange

  • Description

    This water trough is made of granite with a semi-circular water basin at the base. Above the base rises a bas-relief figure of a classically draped woman pouring water from an urn. She is looking down and to the viewer’s left with a smile. Graham’s early death on December 22, 1916 prompted her friends to swiftly erect a monument to “keep fresh (her) memory” within days of the death.

  • Inscription

    Front: TO KEEP FRESH THE MEMORY / OF SUSAN WILLIAMS GRAHAM

    Rear: THE WATERS OF TRUTH FLOW FREELY, DRINK WHEN AND WHERE YOU MAY

  • Custodian

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Dedication Date

    1916

  • Decade

    1910s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.914230 , -79.049770 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Susan Graham Memorial Fountain," UNC University Gazette, January 8, 2003, (accessed March 7, 2012) Link

      "Susan Williams Graham Memorial," Public Art at Carolina, (accessed March 7, 2012) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite

  • Sponsors

    Edward Kidder Graham, president of UNC and husband of Susan Williams Graham, and friends.

  • Subject Notes

    Susan Williams Graham was the wife of UNC President Edward Kidder Graham. She was a socialite and very well-liked. She urged her husband to expand opportunities for women’s education. She died in 1916 at the age of 34. Because her particular interest was in helping farmers’ wives who came to Chapel Hill’s markets, her friends decided to erect a watering trough for their horses. Previously, a hollowed oak tree had been used.

  • Location

    It is located at the northwest corner of Coker Arboretum beside the entrance, surrounded by vegetation.

  • Former Locations

    The monument originally faced Franklin Street, with the relief of the woman street-side.

  • Post Dedication Use

    In 1956 the fountain was moved to a corner of Coker Arboretum from its location near the Methodist Church on Franklin Street.

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