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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Joseph Caldwell Monument, UNC, Chapel Hill

  • Type


  • Subjects

    Historic Educational Figures

  • Creator

    Struther & Co., Unspecified

  • City

    Chapel Hill

  • County


  • Description

    This monument consists of a marble obelisk with a shield carved with oak leaves, an open Bible, a train wheel, and engineer's transit. The obelisk rests on top of the grave of former UNC President Joseph Caldwell and his wife, Helen. This is the second monument placed here for Caldwell. The original obelisk, made of sandstone, was moved to the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.

    Images: North Face | East Face | South Face | West Face

  • Inscription

    North Face: In grateful acknowledgment / of their obligations to / the first President of this University / Joseph Caldwell D.D. / The President of the United States / The Governor of North Carolina / and other Alumni / have raised this monument / A.D. 1847
    East Face: Near him repose the remains of / his beloved wife / HELEN CALDWELL. / And her son / William Hopper D.D. LL.D. / Professor University of North Carolina 1817-1837 / Born 1782-Died 1876
    South Face: He was an early / conspicuous and devoted advocate of the cause of Common Schools and / Internal improvements in North Carolina
    South Face (bottom): Struthers & Co., Phila.
    West Face: Born at Lamington, New Jersey / April the 21st 1773. / Professor of Mathematics in this University-1796. / Died at Chapel Hill, / January 27th 1835.

  • Custodian

    UNC Chapel-Hill

  • Dedication Date

    June 2, 1858

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.913290 , -79.052200 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Caldwell Monument," Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum, SIRIS,, (accessed April 18, 2012) Link

      "Joseph Caldwell Monument," The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History,, (accessed April 18, 2023) Link

      "Joseph Caldwell,", (accessed May 26, 2023) Link

      Battle, Kemp P. The Two Caldwell Monuments on the Campus of the University of North Carolina, (Chapel Hill, NC: Dialectic and Philanthropic Literary Societies of the University of North Carolina, 1902), (accessed May 16, 2012) Link

      Kirkman, Roger N, 1979. "Caldwell, Joseph: 21 Apr. 1773–27 Jan. 1835,", (accessed May 26, 2023) Link

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques


  • Sponsors

    University of North Carolina Alumni

  • Subject Notes

    Joseph Caldwell taught at UNC in 1796 and later served as president from 1804 to 1812 and again from 1816 to 1835. The symbols on the stone represent Dr. Caldwell's services to the state. The railroad wheel refers to his advocacy of rail transportation in the state; the transit records refer to his work in locating the southern boundary of the state; and the Bible alludes to his years as an ordained Presbyterian minister.

    [Additional information from NCpedia editors at the State Library of North Carolina: This person enslaved and owned other people. Many Black and African people, their descendants, and some others were enslaved in the United States until the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in 1865. It was common for wealthy landowners, entrepreneurs, politicians, institutions, and others to enslave people and use enslaved labor during this period. To read more about the enslavement and transportation of African people to North Carolina, visit To read more about slavery and its history in North Carolina, visit - Government and Heritage Library, 2023.]

  • Location

    The obelisk stands in McCorkle Place just north of the Davie Poplar on the University of North Carolina Campus in Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Landscape

    The monument is surrounded by mature shady trees.

  • Death Space


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