Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcase #15

Posted in History, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 24/05/2012

It has been too long since I have posted a suitcase here.  I have been very busy shooting and have also been feeling a bit rushed about mailing out the rewards for the kickstarter backers.  It has been a long and interesting process, and helps me feel the connection that I have with all of you who have supported the project.

This suitcase belonged to Thelma R.

She had a very interesting collection of items.

Many of them were of a religious nature.

I especially like to come across miniature dogs and Thelma had three.  I really like the way these Scotties looked up at me while I was working.

There is usually one anomalous item in each case and in this one it was this small figurine.  It didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of her things.

One of the envelopes was full of photographic negatives.  There were no prints but most of the shots were of friends and I presume, family.

This is one of several small banks that I have seen.  I like the lock painted on the front; the real access to the money was from the bottom.

I wasn’t sure what was contained in these envelopes as they were all sealed, but the word curl makes it a bit obvious.  I held one up to my lights and it looked  and felt like a lock of hair.  Thelma’s surname was not Sullivan, but that name appeared in most of the papers and books in her suitcase.

This is the only recording that I have found in a suitcase.  I really like the design of the label, and the record seemed in perfect condition.

I have obscured the last several letters of her name here.  This piece of paper was in one of her notebooks, and tells a bit of a story about her origins.

 The post mark on this card looks to be 1943 or 1945.  One of the labels in the case says that she came to Willard on 9 July, 1946, so she would have been in her early 20s when she received this.

Many of the cases have day books or diaries, but in every instance but one, they all have only a few entries.  On the first day of the new year Thelma found a penny in Camillus and wrote about it.

Her next comment came almost 3 weeks later, and only one more entry followed this one.

Thanks again to Craig Williams and the New York State Museum for granting me access to the suitcases, and thank you all for following this project.

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