Statue of Clio, the Muse of History (1909-1942)
A bronze monument to Clio, the Greek muse of history, was dedicated at this location on the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park grounds on July 3, 1909. Professor of Literature Charles Alphonso Smith delivered a dedication speech at the statue’s unveiling which centered on the importance of history within a democratic government. In 1942, local officials decided to remove the monument from the park so that its bronze could be utilized to create more weapons for the war effort.
Backstory and Context
The monument had the following inscription: "As sinking silently to night, / Noon fades insensibly, / So truth’s fair phase assumes the haze / And hush of history. / But lesser lights relieve the dark, / Dumb dreariness of night, / And o’er the past historians cast / At least a stellar light."2
Clio, alternate spelling kleio, was one of the nine muses of Greek mythology. Her name came from the Greek word kleô, meaning “to make famous” or “celebrate”. She is often depicted holding an open scroll or seated by books. Zeus and Mnemosyne, a Titan, are the parents of all nine muses. Originally they were depicted as living on Mt. Olympus, where they entertained their parents. However, later they were believed to live on Mt. Helicon or Mt. Parnassus.
Greensboro Patriot, July 5, 1909.
A search of available Greensboro newspapers in 1942 has not resulted in any articles about the decision to send the statue of Clio to the War Salvage Board. Hundreds of cannon and bronze monuments were melted down, and many monuments at a variety of battlefields were slated for removal but spared by the success of scrap metal drives.