Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases/Lawrence Mocha/Theresa L.

Posted in ephemera, History, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 23/06/2014

There is a very interesting article in today’s Finger Lakes Times.  Here is the link.  It brings up the whole issue of names and honoring those who lived and worked at Willard, and is well worth the read.

I shot Theresa’s case recently and it contained some interesting articles.  If anyone out there can tell me for what “Banana Liquid” was used, I’ll send you a postcard.  Reply in comments and I will get in touch and ask for a mailing address.

Willard Suitcases / Fred T / NYSHA presentation / La Repubblica

Posted in Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 09/06/2014

Hi everyone.  Fred T’s suitcase is really interesting.  I have just uploaded it to the willardsuitcases.com site and you should check it out (Click on “The Cases” and then click on Fred T).  It was a great case for a lot of reasons, not the least of which it proves that many residents of Willard were free to walk the grounds and to leave on occasion.

He also clearly had an entrepreneurial spirit.

Fred’s other interest was railroads.  He made a comprehensive list of every train station in the United States.

The stations were alphabetized on these sheets of paper that were then folded into three columns.  On the open one you can see Meadville, PA, which is the town where I grew up.  My parents used to pile my siblings and me into the station wagon and we would go down to watch the evening passenger train go through.

It is poignant to see the dates on Fred’s diary.  It makes his life seem all the more real to me.  Sunday the 11th April, 1926 was a day that Fred wrote about, and now we are able to learn something about his life more than 88 years later .  Amazing

This coming Saturday morning (14 June), Karen Miller and I will be talking about our work with the suitcases at the annual conference of the New York State Historical Association.  It will be held at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.  There is a Saturday only fee of $25.00 to attend, but it would be great to see any of you who could make it.  Karen will be reading some of her poems and I will talk about my work with the cases.

Finally, the Italian site La Repubblica did a very nice spread on the project.  Check it out here.  Thanks Agnese!

Kickstarter Rewards

Posted in History, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 02/06/2014

Today I finished printing all the smaller prints for the backers of my Kickstarter campaign.  I posted an update on my KS page for backers, but I wanted to mention it here as well.  I LOVE printing these images.  There is something about how they look on paper, as opposed to the computer screen, that knocks me out.  I have printed extras as I usually do, and for any of you who missed out on the campaign and would like to be a part of the project, I would be open to selling prints.  Just shoot me an email or comment below and I will be happy to talk about pricing.  I’ll start stuffing and addressing envelopes tomorrow.  Thanks for all the interest in the project and have a great week.

Willard Suitcase / Delmar H. / Willard Tour

Posted in Abandoned Buildings, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 13/05/2014

It has been a while since I have posted any suitcases.  It is never far from my mind, but there is a lot going on in other areas of my life.  There seems to be an uptick in interest for some reason.  What usually happens is that a blog or website picks it up and it starts spreading anew.  Greetings to new viewers. /  I have always loved cases with exotic travel labels, and Delmar’s had a few.

I wonder when he went to South America.

I will be at Willard this Saturday for the annual tour.  I would encourage any of you who live nearby to come.  There is a$10.00 admission, and it is a rare chance to get into some of the buildings and wander around the cemetery.  There are two tours; 9.00 AM and 1.00 PM.  I will be at the one in the afternoon .  Here is a link with information.  Hope to see you there.

Willard Suitcases / Anna H / Talk in Albany

Posted in History, Jon Crispin, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 03/04/2014

After a bit of a break, we were back to shooting more of the suitcases yesterday.  It was a productive day, and after the intensity of the Kickstarter appeal, it was nice to be back to doing what is the most important part of the project.

Anna’s case was in nice condition and the wicker pattern was lovely.

For those of you in the Albany area, I would love to see you at a presentation I will be giving at The University at Albany next Thursday the 10th.  I will be talking about the suitcases and some of my other work to Katherine Van Acker’s class on documentary studies.  Here are the details:  Uptown Campus, Science Library Room SL G02, 5.45 pm.  On our way back from Rotterdam yesterday, Peg drove me around the campus so I could get my bearings, and the first thing I noticed is that parking could be very difficult.  There is a very small visitors lot (link to campus map), so if you plan on attending I would encourage you to get there early.

Again

Posted in Jon Crispin, Transportation, Travel, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 06/03/2014

In the late afternoon of 28 October, 2011 I picked up Peter at Union and he and I were heading home for the weekend.  Cristine was working in the Middle East, and the weather forecast was calling for a major storm.  I was partway through the first suitcases Kickstarter campaign, and feeling unsure as to how it would all work out.  We stopped at the first rest area on the MASS PIKE to get gas (and I think a packet of Hostess Cup Cakes).  I looked at my phone and something like 80 emails that had just come in.  I really thought there was a problem with my account and that the server was just resending old mail that I had already viewed.  When I looked closely I realized that all the email had come from Kickstarter.  They had just featured me as a “project we love”, and I immediately met my goal.   That early winter storm rolled in big time and we were without electricity for the next 2 days. Wild./  Yesterday, I was shooting the suitcases in Rotterdam and was aware that the current Kickstarter appeal was ending in the evening.  As I was driving east on the pike towards home, I stopped for gas at that same rest area, looked at my phone and saw this ($20,879 pledged with 341 backers, funding successful).  It seemed just right that I discovered that both projects had gone over the top at the same location.

Willard Suitcases Projec

This is one of yesterday’s cases.  It belonged to Joseph K.

Thank you all for your support and interest in the project.  And a huge thanks to the folks at Kickstarter for running a great organization, and providing a venue that enables independent projects like this one to be successful.

Willard Suitcases / Ethel S

Posted in Abandoned Buildings, History, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 02/03/2014

Ethel  S came to Willard with some beautiful quilts, which I have reason to believe she had made herself.

She also had some interesting photographs, and her Bible was a very nice edition.

And for some reason she arrived with a complete set of cutlery.

I especially liked this spoon, which was most likely hers as a child.

I often find myself wondering what impact her faith had in how she coped with life at the asylum.

As you can see, Ethel was admitted on 3 July, 1930.

Three days to go on the Kickstarter appeal.  Thank you all for your support.  I have every confidence we will make it.  I especially want to thank those of you who have increased your pledges.  I am a bit overwhelmed by all this.  You all must know that this is not so much about me and my life as a photographer, but about the  people who lived at Willard, those who took care of them, and all of you who are a part of the project.  Have a great week everybody.

Appeal

Posted in Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 26/02/2014

The Kickstarter campaign ends next Wednesday.  I want to thank all of you who have supported the project so far.

It is now time for me to put out a direct appeal to those of you who have thought about backing the project but have been waiting to decide if it was something you would care to do.  I could really use your help.

The way Kickstarter works is that I set a goal, and if that goal is not reached, none of the funds will come through.  I felt strongly that I did not want to undervalue the project, and that if I achieved my goal, I would be able to finish shooting all the cases.  The money raised helps me cover my costs of travel, pays me for my time, and enables me to pay Peggy Ross for her invaluable help.  The funds also allow me to make and distribute prints to show to potential venues for exhibits, and begin to reach out to organizations that might want me to talk about the suitcases to a wider audience.  I can’t begin to tell you how weird it feels to me to directly ask for financial support, but I am convinced that this is the most important project I have worked on in my life as a photographer, and I think Kickstarter is a great venue for people to become involved in the creation of something so compelling.  So, here’s the link. And thanks so much.

William H was admitted to Willard on 28 June, 1926.

Willard Suitcases / Margaret S.

Posted in History, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 12/02/2014

We had a very productive day shooting the cases yesterday.  We made it through another box, and it continues to feel like we are making real progress.  For the second week in a row, I was knocked out by a case when I opened it up.  This one had the classic type of latch that makes such a familiar sound when you slide the buttons to release the locks.  And I really liked the design and pleasant shade of grey.

Whoa, what a case!

Margaret S came to Willard on 6 June, 1967 and went to Ward 2 in the Hatch Building.

I have just cleared the $8,000 mark on the Kickstarter appeal, and I am very grateful for the support. We still have a long way to go before we reach our goal so I would really appreciate anything that could be done to spread the word.  Thanks for following.

Paperwhite? update #4 / Suitcases

Posted in Flowers, Plants, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 06/02/2014

I was looking at the paperwhites today and, well…..something seemed a bit odd.  It took me a second to realize that, HEY, those aren’t paperwhites!  These daffodils snuck in somehow (hangin’ with their paperwhite friends and makin’ mischief; sure we’ll come along.  Sounds like fun).  Totally unexpected and somewhat of a shock.  I am so clueless about bulbs, but I now presume you can force just about anything indoors.  Does anyone know if you can do this with tulips as well?  Seeing these guys was a very pleasant surprise.

Welcome to all of you have been following the Kickstarter suitcase project.  It might seem confusing to see “non suitcase” posts here, but I like to mix things up a bit on this site.  Thanks to all of you backers.  Cheers.

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