“He was a genius”: Julia Wolfe talks about her son Thomas

You might need headphones to hear this seven-minute audio recording of Julia Wolf speaking in 1945 with radio host Tom Breneman, but it’s worth plugging in to catch her wonderful speaking voice and accent.

Wolfe, the mother of eight children including Thomas, expresses some surprising thoughts, including this one that seems to suggest an early feminist sentiment:

I might have amounted to more than I have. But I’ve always felt, since Thomas came on this earth, that being Tom’s mother helped make up for a great many things that I failed to be and do.

According to the website of N.C. Historic Sites, Thomas Wolfe’s mother was an accomplished businesswoman:

Julia Elizabeth Westall Wolfe (1860-1945), was a third-generation North Carolinian of Scots-Irish-English stock. Surprisingly, Julia Wolfe did not operate the boardinghouse because of financial need. W. O. Wolfe made enough money from the tombstone shop he owned and operated on Asheville’s city square to support the family. But former teacher Julia was obsessed with the real estate market and used profits from the boardinghouse’s operation to buy more property. A shrewd and hard-nosed businesswoman, Julia Wolfe was remembered as a “driver of hard bargains” by family members.


About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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One thought on ““He was a genius”: Julia Wolfe talks about her son Thomas

  1. Carol

    Great article as always, Thomas! Loved the interview with Julia Wolfe. That woman had a wonderful sense of humor!

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