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Thomas Wolfe Honored with U.S. Postage Stamp

United States Postal Service - September 13, 2000
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WASHINGTON - One of America's most powerful and enduring novelists, Thomas Clayton Wolfe, will be honored by the U.S. Postal Service with the issuance of the Thomas Wolfe stamp on Oct. 3.

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Wolfe's birth, a first-day of issuance ceremony for the new First-Class stamp will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52 N. Market Street, in Asheville, N.C., Wolfe's birthplace.

Representing the Postal Service at the event will be Gordon Jacobs, District Manager, Mid-Carolinas. Joining Jacobs will be Betty Ray McCain and Wilma Dykeman, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, and Jeff Crowe, Director of North Carolina Cultural Resources. Other honored guests will include members of Wolfe's family and friends.

Wolfe graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1920 and continued his formal education at Harvard University, earning a Master of Arts Degree in 1922.

Considered one of the great American writers of the 20th century, Wolfe is best known for his novel "Look Homeward, Angel" (1929). The book is based on his early life in North Carolina. Wolfe also wrote "Of Time and the River" (1935), "The Web and the Rock" (1939), and "You Can't Go Home Again" (1940). The last two books were published posthumously.

Wolfe was both a novelist and a short story writer. In 1916 he enrolled at the University of North Carolina. While there, he edited the "Tar Heel", the University of North Carolina student newspaper.

In 1923 he moved to New York City, and began teaching English at the Washington Square College of New York University in1924. In 1926 he traveled to Europe and there began work on the first version of his novel, "Look Homeward, Angel;" it was published in 1929.

Some of his short novels include: "A Portrait of Bascom Hawke" and "The Web of Earth" which were published in "Scribner's Magazine."

Wolfe's writing was marked by rich rhetoric and powerful command of language. His short stories and novels have left an indelible mark on American literature. The strength of his characterizations and his command of language have assured his place as a permanent figure in American writing.

Wolfe died shortly before his 38th birthday in Baltimore, Md.

The stamp features the design of artist Michael J. Deas who portrays Wolfe in profile. An angel is in the background over Wolfe's right shoulder. Titles of two of his literary works-"Look Homeward, Angel" and "Of Time and the River"-appear in the background over Wolfe's left shoulder.

Deas is an award-winning artist who divides his time between Brooklyn, New York and New Orleans, and is well-known for his stamp images. He has been awarded five medals by the Society of Illustrators, including two gold medals for stamp designs: James Dean (Legends of Hollywood 1996), and Thornton Wilder (Literary Arts 1997). Deas also designed the 1995 Tennessee Williams stamp.

The Thomas Wolfe stamp is the 17th in the Literary Arts series which began in 1979 with the John Steinbeck stamp. Other stamps in this series include, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1983), T.S. Eliot (1986), and F. Scott Fitzgerald (1996).

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