Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Michael B

Posted in History, Institutions, Mental Health, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 29/07/2015

This is what is left of the handle on one side of Michael’s large trunk.  Sadly, there is only a tiny remnant of the original Willard tag attached to a string, so there is no information about the date he arrived.  But there is a ton of very interesting material in the collection, which I am really looking forward to photographing next Tuesday.

I will be doing a longer post with lots of photos next week. Until then, thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L

Posted in Asylums, Mental Health, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 24/07/2015

Willard Suitcases

Rodrigo was a reader.  His collection of books was extensive and interesting.

Rodrigo L

He was also a bit of a writer. Below is a novel that he wrote that was part of his library.

Rodrigo L

It is interesting how he changed the dedication.

Rodrigo L

He must have been working with some sort of editor or teacher, as there are lots of corrections in red ink.

Rodrigo L

Some of his books were from his days at Salt Lake High School.  The collected issues of the school publication “Red and Black” were among his books.

Rodrigo L

This was the only evidence of his byline that I could find.

Rodrigo L

Frustrating to have to obscure his surname.

There is so much amazing material here, and I have to keep reminding myself that I am just documenting the collection as a photographer, and not as a social historian.  The temptation is to photograph everything that made his life so interesting, but I reckon I would never finish.

Peggy was especially helpful is setting up and organizing our work yesterday.  Here is a shot of her cheerful presence in front of a setup for which she was largely responsible.  Thanks Peg.

Peggy Ross

Willard Suitcases / Herman G

Peg and I started in on the returned Exploratorium cases yesterday, and it was great to get back to shooting.

Herman’s case was particularly interesting to me as most of his things related to photography.  It will be somewhat difficult to read this label on a computer monitor, but it reveals quite a bit about him.  He had been living in Sonyea, NY at the Craig Colony for Epileptics.  Lin Stuhler’s site has a good description of Craig here.  There is a note on this label stating “List of ??? [artifacts, contents?, I can’t quite read it] on reverse side of this cover”.

And here is that list.  You can see Herman’s signature on the top sheet that acknowledges receipt.

There were three lenses in the case, including this lovely Bausch and Lomb Tessar.

This was the 1930s idea of a light meter.

The collection includes quite a bit of correspondence from The American School of Photography in Chicago.  It seemed to be a well organized “learn at home” way of becoming a photographer.  Since all of the envelopes that contained the promotional materials were addressed to Herman in Sonyea, NY, I have to assume that he was learning to be a photographer while living at the Craig Colony.

For me, Herman’s story is particularly touching, and not just because of the photography connection.  I purposely don’t include too much of myself on this site, but sometimes I feel the need to open up a bit about the emotional impact of shooting these cases.  Our son Peter is an amazing guy.  He was a preemie, and spent months in the hospital after he was born.  He has cerebral palsy and a history of epilepsy.  He lives independently in DC and is a truly remarkable and inspirational person. I simply can’t imagine what his life would have been like had he been born in the 1920s, and when I think of Herman and his life in institutions, it breaks my heart.

WordPress Problem / Test

Posted in Uncategorized by joncrispin on 22/07/2015

I put up a post earlier today titled “Willard Suitcases / Herman G” and it did not appear on my main page, but showed up as a new page on the right side.  This is a test to see if the problem repeats itself.

It seems back to normal.  I will try to repost it now.  Thanks for your patience.

Tagged with:

Block Island View

Posted in atlantic ocean, Beaches, block island, ocean, views, waves by joncrispin on 16/07/2015

Thar she blows.

It is very nice to be back on Block Island.

Thar she blows!

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Olive’s 1st Anniversary

Olive in woods

We brought the Olive home one year ago today as an adorable 8 week old puppy.  Here she is in her first post.

We went up into the woods late this afternoon before the rains arrived.

Olive ©2015 Jon Crispin

It has been a fairly wet summer, but there isn’t much running water.  She still manages to stop for a soak from time to time.

Olive in water

Here she is waiting patiently for Cris to throw a stick.

Olive ©2015 Jon Crispin

Action!

Butterfly

Posted in Butterfly, Insects by joncrispin on 07/07/2015

Butterfly in Amherst

This beauty was fluttering around Amherst this afternoon and was nice enough to alight so that I could photograph it. The flowers in front of Pasta E Basta do more than just look pretty.

Weekend

Posted in Baseball, baseball stadiums, drinking beer, Fried Clams by joncrispin on 06/07/2015

We took Peter back to the train in New Haven on Saturday.  But as his visits are not too frequent, we will go out of our way to take him to Farnham’s in Essex for fried clams.  This view from the parking lot always entices me.  The clams were brilliant as usual.

I have no idea what was going on here.

As it was Friday and the Sox were home, we then drove to the  Woodland T Station to take the Green Line into Fenway.  We had just two tickets for Cris and Peter, so I stood on line at the “day of game” window and scored a standing room space on the Green Monster.

It was a beautiful night for baseball.  I had never seen a game from the Monster before and it was a perfect place to watch the action.

I was standing beside two really nice guys from Huntsville, Alabama.  We kept buying each other beer, and  I think it was the first Miller Lite I have had in 30 years.  Scott and Jim were both Sox fans; they knew the team really well, and were perfect companions for the evening.  Baseball!

Frank C / Exploratorium Return

Posted in Asylums, History, Mental Health, psychiatric centers, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 01/07/2015

I have just uploaded Frank C’s cases to the willardsuitcases.com site.  His things are among the most important in the collection.  There is so much to be learned from what he chose to bring with him to Willard, and from the letters he received while there.  And he was such a handsome gentleman.  Go to the site and click on “The Cases” and scroll down to the bottom of the page.  Click on “Frank C” and make sure you click “view all” to see the photos.

I am so happy that the suitcases that were part of the Exploratorium exhibit have just arrived back at the storage facility. Among them are the last of the cases to be photographed.  Yesterday Peg and I, along with museum staff, spent part of the day taking a look at the shipping containers and getting organized.

 It has been a very emotional few weeks for me, as we are down to just 6 people left to photograph.  It will be the end of over 4 years of shooting, and while in some ways, it is just the beginning of what will happen with the project, I am feeling a strong sense of change and loss.

Thanks for following the project, and for all the support that I receive from this fantastic virtual community.

Montreal / WWC

Posted in bonsai, botanical gardens, gps, Montreal, Sport, Travel, woman's football, woman's soccer by joncrispin on 28/06/2015

We were in Montreal for the Germany / France match on Friday.  It was fun being in the city again.

It was a bit odd walking back into the Olympic Stadium.  We had been there while the Expos were still playing, and Peter mentioned that the last time we saw a game there he was sure we would never set foot in the place again (The franchise moved to DC after the 2004 season).  It is a shame that they put a roof on it, as watching outdoor sporting events in a covered venue is a somewhat unnatural.  And the place still smells of garlic fries and burgers.  But it was a great match, with Germany winning on penalties 1-1 (5-4).  We were all rooting for France, but the atmosphere was fantastic, and it was great to see a World Cup match in person.

On Saturday morning we went to the Botanical Garden and hung out with Peggy Ross and her husband Peter.  Great little bonsai collection.

Peter has been following Formula One for a few years now, and we had heard that anyone could drive around on the actual circuit.  It is so cool, as it is divided so that one lane is for automobiles (max 30 kph) and the other is for bicycles, roller blades, other non-motorized conveyances and people who just want to walk.  And it shows up on the GPS.  Turn right in 0.6 miles!

Here’s the Element at the back of the starting grid.

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