Each week we are highlighting the final resting place of someone related to the Lincoln assassination story. It may be the grave of someone whose name looms large in assassination literature, like a conspirator, or the grave of one of the many minor characters who crossed paths with history. Welcome to Grave Thursday.
Arthur F. Loux
Burial Location: Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Overland Park, Kansas
Connection to the Lincoln assassination:
Art Loux may not have been around during the time of Lincoln’s assassination, but, based on his detailed work on the subject, you would find it difficult to believe that he wasn’t. As a John Wilkes Booth and Lincoln assassination researcher, Art spent over 40 years delving into the history and engaging with others in the field. His name appears in the acknowledgements of countless books and practically all of the authors in the field considered Art a friend and generous colleague.
Art’s magnum opus, the product of his entire lifetime of researching, was his book, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day.
This fabulous book documents the day to day movements of the world renowned actor, John Wilkes Booth, who turned into our nation’s first Presidential assassin. Art spent decades compiling Booth’s daily whereabouts and movements using newspapers, personal writings, and published accounts. In the days before the internet, Art sent letters to practically every library and historical society in America asking the recipients to check whatever newspapers and microfilm they had for mentions of the assassin. The magnitude of his research is staggering. Thanks to Art’s careful and meticulous eye, the life of John Wilkes Booth has been documented in a way never before thought possible.
Art Loux passed away on December 29, 2013, two days after signing a deal with McFarland & Company to have John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day published for the masses. In one of the greatest injustices of fate, Art never got to see his work become one of the most revered texts in Lincoln assassination literature.
I have written about my deep appreciation for Art Loux before and I have a page here on BoothieBarn in memory of Art. Please take a few minutes out of your day to read more about the career and life of this wonderful historian.
I decided to choose Art for today’s Grave Thursday selection for two reasons. The first is that this Sunday, October 16th, would have been Art’s 72nd birthday and so I felt a mention this week was appropriate. The second reason I chose to include Art in Grave Thursday is because I know he would have enjoyed it. In addition to being a big Lincoln assassination buff, Art was also a big cemetery buff. Art was always visiting cemeteries looking for, and photographing, graves. Art’s daughter Jennifer, who supervised the publication of her father’s manuscript after his death, has told me that she has many childhood memories trekking through graveyards with her father looking for such-and-such’s grave. To prove it, here’s a picture Art took in 1978 of his daughter standing next to Laura Keene’s grave in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (Keene, by the way, is the subject of next week’s Grave Thursday):
Art later became a big contributor to the site FindaGrave.com, uploading over 800 pictures he had taken over the years of different people’s graves. I hope by including Art in Grave Thursday I am honoring not only a man I deeply respect and miss, but also the hobby that he enjoyed so much.
Every time I open Art’s book, I am grateful I had a chance to know such a generous man who gave knowledge so freely and without the expectation of anything in return. In 1977, Art penned the following note, in which he wrote admiringly of the generosity and helpfulness of those in the Lincoln assassination field:
Like the people he writes of in his note, Art, too, was remarkable. He was always generous with his time and knowledge, and still stands as a role model for me on how amateur historians are supposed to act and share. Every new post I put up here on BoothieBarn is my attempt to share my discoveries and knowledge with as many people as I can, just as Art did.
So, if you ever find yourself in the Topeka/Kansas City area, stop by Pleasant Valley Cemetery and pay your respects to one of the great historians in the field of Lincoln assassination studies, Arthur F. Loux.
GPS coordinates for Art Loux’s grave: 38.838552, -94.695460