Members of the Thomas Wolfe Society (TWS), especially those from the society’s formation and early years, will remember Frances A. Weaver from Chapel Hill, who attended many of the early annual meetings and was instrumental in making local arrangements for meetings in Chapel Hill.
She was an archivist in the UNC-CH library who arranged and described the North Carolina Collection’s Thomas Wolfe Collection and prepared a finding aid for it, thus making accessible to researchers a rich and previously unarranged treasure.
[For example, see: The Thomas Wolfe Collection, North Carolina Collection, University of NC at Chapel Hill, Compiled by Frances A. Weaver; and Librarian’s Papers on Thomas Wolfe, 1938-2006; and Wolfe Family Papers, 1890-1958; and Richard Gaither Walser Papers on Thomas Wolfe, 1971-1982; and Edward C. Aswell Papers on Thomas Wolfe, 1947-1958; and Elizabeth Nowell and Vardis Fisher Correspondence on Thomas Wolfe and Other Topics, 1947-1957; and Sallie Faxon Saunders Papers on Thomas Wolfe, 1923-1967; and Papers Relating to Thomas Wolfe from Various Sources, 1917-1985 –just a few selections from the collection compiled by Frances A. Weaver.]
Mrs. Weaver (known as “Fran” to family and friends) was soft-spoken and preferred working behind the scenes, but she was willing and eager to speak about Thomas Wolfe. She first did so in 1978 at the Wolfe Fest at St. Mary’s College, speaking about the Wolfe materials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teamed up with Jerry Cotten on several occasions to present a popular program on Wolfe, drawing from printed and visual materials at UNC-CH.
At the second annual meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society, in Chapel Hill, 10-11 April 1981, she delivered an excellent paper, titled simply “The Thomas Wolfe Collection.” In this paper, Mrs. Weaver introduced and described the collection of Wolfe materials at Chapel Hill to a rapt audience–scholars anxious to get at this rich trove and others just delighted to hear about it. (See H.G. Jones, ed., Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina, 1982, which includes Frances Weaver’s paper.)
On her retirement in 1989 Mrs. Weaver received the C. Knox Massey Award for Distinguished Service to the University. Her community involvement was also extensive, and in 2001 she received the UNC General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of her contributions to the community and the University.
Her obituary in The Chapel Hill News includes the statement that she was “admired by all for her grace, wit, and generous spirit.” All who knew her agree.
Frances Weaver died on January 27, 2013.