Professor’s Wife Lives On in Memorial Window

July 24, 2023
Eugenie Moore Faulkner's face in a Tiffany window.

A UVA professor in mourning made his late wife’s face the centerpiece of a Tiffany window in the University Chapel. Eugenie Moore Faulkner was married just six months before she died in 1906. (Photograph by Dan Addison, University Communications)

The University of Virginia Chapel has been the venue for many weddings, among them that of Eugenie Moore, a popular local young lady, and William Harrison Faulkner, a professor of German at the University.

Though their marriage lasted only about six months, Eugenie Moore Faulkner has become a permanent fixture at the chapel; after her untimely death, her husband commissioned a memorial window crafted by the Tiffany Company.

The historic structure report on the chapel, prepared by Quinn Evans Architects of Washington, said the Tiffany Studios installed a mandorla, or almond-shaped, window in the east transept of the chapel. The window features what is likely a photo on glass of Eugenie Moore Faulkner at its center and has raised elements.

“It’s really neat how three-dimensional that window is, which we didn’t really realize until we got up to it with the scaffolding,” said James Zehmer, senior historic preservation project manager, who is working on Chapel restoration. “As far as I can tell, the image of the woman is a photograph printed on glass, because I don’t see how they could paint in the hair. It just looks real.”

Eugenie Moore Faulkner at the center of a Tiffany window

The dates on the memorial window show the young bride, heralded in the local society pages as beautiful and popular, died at age 24. Her UVA professor husband was so heartbroken he wanted Eugenie Moore Faulkner’s image forever preserved in the venue where they married. (Photograph by Dan Addison, University Communications)

According to an account in the May 31, 1905, edition of The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress, Moore, “one of the most popular young ladies of the University social set,” and Faulkner were married at 8:30 p.m. on a Monday evening, May 29, 1905.

“Dr. Faulkner is an adjunct professor at the University and a popular young man,” The Daily Progress story stated. “The wedding presents were numerous and handsome, testifying to the popularity of the young couple.”

They were known on the Charlottesville social scene and, according to The Daily Progress, “several large and beautiful receptions have been given in her honor this season.” 

The bride was attended by her mother, and then, according to the newspaper account, the couple took a weeklong wedding trip to an unspecified destination, returning to their home at the University.

Their time together, however, was short. The bride died on New Year’s Day 1906, at the age of 24.

“The many admiring friends of Mrs. William Harrison Faulkner are greatly shocked and deeply distressed to learn of her sudden death, which occurred at an early hour this morning after a brief illness, at the University Hospital,” The Daily Progress reported. “Mrs. Faulkner was Miss Eugenie Moore, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. Bruce Moore of Preston Heights, formerly of Orange. She was a handsome girl of brunette type and very attractive and popular.”

The newspaper account also noted that the Faulkners were “a most devoted couple and great sympathy is felt for the afflicted young husband who is the popular adjunct professor of Teutonic languages at the University.”

Close up image of the Tiffany window that has Eugenie Moore Faulkner in it

How this memorial window was created is something of a mystery to UVA officials who are renovating the chapel. “As far as I can tell, the image of the girl is a photograph printed on glass, because I don’t see how they could paint in the hair. It just looks real.” (Photograph by Dan Addison, University Communications)

The funeral service was held Jan. 2 at Wayside, Eugenie Moore Faulkner’s parent’s home in Preston Heights, a Charlottesville neighborhood. Eugenia Moore Faulkner was buried at the University Cemetery.

Faulkner remained single for nearly a decade. On Dec. 23, 1914, he married Sylvia Petrovic of Ragusa, Austria, at the chapel of Holy Trinity Church, Richmond, in what The Daily Progress called “a quiet wedding.”

“Rev. Thomas G. Faulkner, brother of the groom, performed the ceremony,” the report read. “The bride was given away by her brother-in-law, Caskie Norvell, and the groom had as his best man Donald M. Blair.”

The newspaper account said that the couple would reside at the University after “a short wedding trip.” The Faulkners lived at Pavilion I for 26 years.

Faulkner and his second wife had two children – W. H. Faulkner, Jr., who was born in 1916 and died in 2003, and Sylvia Faulkner, born in 1919, who died in 1998. Sylvia Petrovic Faulkner lived until 1966, dying at the age of 71. Brian E. Hogg, the senior historic preservation planner at the Office of the Architect for the University, said they were all buried at the University.

William Harrison Faulkner retired from the University at the end of the 1944-45 school year and died at age 75 at his Preston Heights home on June 22, 1949. A triple Hoo, he was a native of Amelia County. Faulkner came to UVA in 1892, received his bachelor’s degree in 1895, his master’s degree in 1898 and his doctorate in 1902. He became the master of Latin and Greek at Episcopal High School in Alexandria before joining the UVA faculty.

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“Both as a student and faculty member, he took an active part in the social and organizational life of the University,” The Daily Progress noted in Faulkner’s obituary. “He was a member of Beta Theta Pi and Delta Pi fraternities, Phi Beta Kappa, T.I.L.K.A. ribbon society and the Raven Society.”

Faulkner served a term as president of the Virginia Association of Colleges and was an officer of the Association of Southern Colleges and Secondary Schools and a member of the Special Commission on Junior Colleges.

“On the University faculty, he served on many committees concerned with academic legislation and educational standards,” the newspaper noted. “Known to generations of his students as an outstanding teacher, Dr. Faulkner was perhaps best known for his graduate course on Goethe’s ‘Faust.’”

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications