Willard Suitcase #19, Dmytre
I happen to know more about Dmytre than most of the other suitcase owners as he was one of the featured folks in the original exhibition at the New York State Museum. This photo shows him at the institution with one of his paintings. He was quite an artist. In the early 1950s he was committed to Syracuse Psychopathic Hospital and in 1953 was sent to Willard. He was there until 1977 and was discharged to a county home. Dmytre died in 2000. Many of his paintings hung on office walls at Willard until it closed in the 1990s.
I like the looks of this case.
It has a solid feel to it even though it is a bit beat up.
As usual, I have had to obscure the last part of his surname, but you can see by the tags that he arrived at Willard in May of 1953. I’m not sure why there are two dates on the tags.
It was an interesting case to photograph, as the contents seemed so personal.
Dmytre was from Ukraine and spoke English with a heavy accent, which made his life difficult at times.
If you look closely you will note that the flower piece in the case is the same one that the woman in the photograph is holding.
I have always had a thing for small lapel pins, and this little Red Cross one is beautiful.
The above photo should be familiar to my Kickstarter backers as it was one of the reward options.
The Washington, DC thermometer is touching as Dmytre’s problems started in that city when on a visit there in 1952 he claimed to be married to Margaret Truman and was detained by the Secret Service.
This postcard is amazing. Somewhere I made a note as to what it said on the back, but I’ll need to dig up that information.
Here’s another of the many small wooden dogs that are in the collection. I wonder if he carved it.
There were a lot of hand-written notebooks and science related texts in the case. He was clearly a very bright and creative fellow.
And one large manilla envelope contained these cutouts which look to be plans for building models and other small craft objects.
And lastly, here are some personal correspondences and a brochure on Social Security.
I hadn’t planned on doing a post just now, but I wanted to mention that this case is on it way to Baltimore to the American Visionary Art Museum for some sort of exhibit. I went to their website, but was not able to figure out when it will be featured. Anyone in the mid-Atlantic who is interested in seeing one of the actual cases and its contents should check with them.
Thanks for all your interest and continued support. I also wanted to mention that Peg Ross, who has helped me so much on this project came over to my studio today to help out with editing the photos for the Exploratorium exhibit. I really appreciate all her insight and encouragement.