Media & Reviews


The Art of Memory is the complete package. It contains a history of Grand Rapids citizens and a history of cemetery development. The stories told are local, but the understanding of the layout of a cemetery, the thinking of different eras, and the symbolism of the monuments is universal. I have had the pleasure of touring cemeteries with Thomas Dilley. This book captures the passion and depth of knowledge he has for this topic.” Gina Bivins, President of the Grand Rapids Historical Society

“Tom Dilley, in his lifelong work, has been able to delve into the largest and smallest of the graveyards in Grand Rapids. During this trip he gives the reader insight into how and why these burial grounds have come into being, who the citizens are that reside there, and why these places are of such importance. The Art of Memory is a thorough and enjoyable work that is sure to engage any students of cemeteries, Grand Rapids, or regional history.” Tim Gleisner, Manager of Special Collections, Grand Rapids Public Library

“The Art of Memory explores one midwestern city but explains a cemetery history relevant to the entire Midwest. A walk through any cemetery, whether rural and simple or urban and magnificent, becomes an eye-opening education with Dilley’s excellent and detailed examination. The themes of cemetery art and architecture, accompanied by beautiful color photographs throughout, apply to any cemetery, anywhere in the United States. In my opinion, that alone is worth the price of the book.” Diana E. Barrett, Grand Rapids historian and member of the Grand Rapids Historical Commission

“This important addition to our local history is filled with insights into the ways that the residents of one midwestern city expressed their ideas of death and honoring the dead through landscape, art, and architecture.” Rebecca Smith-Hoffman, current chairman of the Grand Rapids Historical Commission and a partner in Past Perfect, a consulting firm specializing in historic preservation and historic research

The Art of Memory is an amazing walk through the cemeteries of Grand Rapids. What lies beneath the beautifully landscaped and sculpted monument-lined rows are stories that speak louder than one can possibly imagine. Dilley’s skill in telling the history of Grand Rapids’ past residents is equal to his remarkable knowledge of them. The voices of those long ago will definitely speak to you in this outstanding book.” Sheila Pantlind, director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Aquinas College


September 9, 2015 –  Glimpse into Grand Rapids’ past: Historian to guide Oak Grove Cemetery tour –

December 13, 2014 – For an uplifting walk in a park, find a cemetery – Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 24, 2014 – For an uplifting walk in a park, find a cemetery – Capitol News Service

September 5, 2014 – In a place they’re dying to get into, a look at our living communities –

September 3, 2014 – Art of Memory: New book digs deep into ‘silent cities’ of Grand Rapids –

September 3, 2014 – Resting place of pioneers: Historian to guide Fulton Street Cemetery tours –

August 29, 2014 – Grand Rapids cemeteries subject of local historian’s latest book –

August 28, 2014 – Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids (audio) – WGVU radio