Louis Agassiz Fuertes


Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York, USA
Death 22 Aug 1927 (aged 53)
Unadilla, Otsego County, New York, USA
Burial Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York, USA
Plot Sec A Lot 136
Memorial ID 177934476 View Source

Prominent artist, illustrator and author.

Prof. Louis Agassiz Fuertes, noted naturalist, painter and lecturer of Cornell University, was killed almost instantly and his wife injured when the fast passenger train, 302, on the D. & H., struck the Rollin roadster in which they were riding, a mile and a half east of this village Tuesday Morning.

The accident occurred at 11:05 o’clock, five minutes before the train, Binghamton bound, was due in the station. The pilot struck the rear end and threw the machine to one side, where the gasoline tank exploded and enveloped automobile and driver. Mrs. Fuertes was thrown several feet.

Trainmen ran to the car and smothered the flames, but not before Fuertes had been badly burned.

Dr. B.W. Staerns was called to the scene and pronounced Mr. Fuertes dead. The body was later taken to Oneonta.

Mrs. Fuertes was not seriously injured, but was taken to the Fox Memorial hospital in Oneonta by Edward Seaman.

Dr. Norman W. Getman of Oneonta, the coroner, said that the professor’s back had been broken and that his skull probably crushed. After questioning Engineer Edward B. Smith and Conductor John Steffin, who picked up Fuertes, his decision was that death resulted accidentally.

According to witnesses there was a roadster containing two woman and bearing an Ohio license, another automobile driven by a man, and a team of horses hitched to a farm wagon at the crossing, waiting for the train to pass.

Professor Fuertes is said to have passed around the standing vehicles and onto the tracks into the path of the onrushing locomotive. He lost the race by a fraction of a second.

Trainmen picked up a Cornell University pin which bore the numerals “1898,” later determined to belong to Fuertes.

The professor was born February 7, 1874, at Ithaca, the son of Prof. Estevan Antonio and Mary Stone (Perry) Fuertes. He was graduated by Cornell with the degree of A.B., in 1897, and married Margaret F. Sumner of Ithaca, in 1904.

Since 1898 he had been a painter of birds. He illustrated such volumes as Birding on a Broncho; Citizen Bird; Song Birds and Water Fowls; Birdcraft; The Woodpeckers; Second Book of Birds; Birds of the Rockies; Handbook of Birds in the Western United States; Coues’ Key to North American Birds; Handbook of Birds of Eastern United States; plates for the report of the New York State Game, Forest and Fish Commission; Upland Game Birds and its companion volume, Waterfowl Birds of New York; several series in the National Geographic magazine; Burgess’ Bird Book for Children and Burgess’ Animal Book for Children.

His permanent work included habitat groups in the American Museum of Natural History; 25 decorative panels for F.M. Brewster, at New Haven, Conn., birds of New York at the State Museum, Albany; murals in the Flamingo Hotel, at Miami, Fla., paintings for the New York Zoological Society, Bronx.

He was lecturer in ornithology at Cornell. His home was in Cornell Heights, at Ithaca.

The professor also is survived by a brother, James Hillhouse Fuertes, a famous engineer, with offices in New York City.

Ithaca, Aug. 22 -
The death of Louis A. Fuertes today in a grade crossing accident near Unadilla cut short his report of the Abyssinian expedition of the field Museum of Natural History upon which he has been engaged since his return from Africa.

A book, to be illustrated as well as written by Mr. Fuertes, was about half completed at his death.

Surviving the noted ornithologist, who was one of the foremost painter’s of bird life in America, are his wife, who is in Oneonta hospital with injuries received in the accident in which Mr. Fuertes lost his life; a son, Sumner; a daughter, Mary; his mother, Mrs. Estevan Fuertes, all of Ithaca; two sisters, Mrs. Sarah Fuertes Hitchcock of New York City and Miss Katherine Fuertes of Aurora, and two brothers, Estevan and James Fuertes of New York City.

Unadilla Times [defunct], Unadilla, New York, August 28, 1927, page 1


Louis Agassiz Fuertes
1874 † 1927
In his abiding memory
this stone is placed
by the host of men
who loved him

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