Jon Crispin's Notebook

Ovid / Willard Cemetery / NAMI Waco

I had a great meeting at the Edith B. Ford Library in Ovid, NY to talk about the possibility of working on an oral history project with former Willard employees.  Peter Carroll and I drove up from Ithaca this morning and met with Shannon O’Connor and Monica Kelly who both are doing amazing things at the library.  Monica is building an archive of Willard materials, and if anyone who reads this has any records or photographs related to the asylum, you should really contact her.

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Afterwards Pete and I drove to the Holy Cross Cemetery on Gilbert Road.

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Recently, a local group raised funds and erected a monument to Willard folks who died at the institution and are buried at Holy Cross.  I am not exactly sure what the problem is, but some people have objected to it, and so the monument has been covered up since just after it was unveiled.  The issue of naming former patients and staff continues to come up, and is still a problem on many levels.  I’ll be eager to find out what really happened here.

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After leaving Holy Cross, we drove over to the Willard Cemetery which is down the road and across the street from the asylum.  This is such an indescribably moving place for me. It was a really beautiful late Winter day and the idea that 5,776 former patients are buried here in unmarked graves always touches me deeply.

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The site is very well looked after, and the area around some of the few remaining numbered cast iron markers has recently been cleared of brush.

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And it is always nice to see the monument to Lawrence Mocha, who as a patient, dug by hand over 1500 of the graves.

I found out today that I have been invited to Waco, Texas to be the keynote speaker at the annual NAMI Waco dinner and gala.  The event is the evening of Thursday, 18th May and if you live anywhere nearby, I would love to meet you.

Willard Suitcases / Issac and Alice

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I continue to make good progress uploading to the suitcases site.  Issac’s case had just a few items, but the buttons are nice, as well as the safety pins.  I especially like the folding coat hangar.

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Peggy and I were thrilled to open Alice’s case and see the beautiful lining.

Check out the latest at willardsuitcases.com.

Thanks for following.

Paperwhites

Posted in biology, Flowers, Jon Crispin, Nature, Plants, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 10/02/2017

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Just before Christmas I bought the last four paperwhite bulbs at Hadley Garden Center.  As they were the last ones, they looked a bit ratty.  Since we were gone most of January, Cris didn’t put them into the jar of rocks until just after we got home.  The first flowers came out today.  A full foot of snow outside but lovely to have these beauties in the house.

I spoke to my friend John Wilson in Stratford-upon-Avon late last week and he said the daffodils are already coming up over there.  I guess we’ll have to wait at least 6 more weeks before we see any here.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Willard Suitcases / More Labels / Peg

Willard Suitcases

I am just about finished up editing the December 2013 shoots.

Willard Suitcases

The cases were mostly empty, but this newspaper is interesting.  It describes a particularly tragic boating accident in Alexandria Bay, NY that occurred in August of 1929.  I did a bit or research.  Here’s a link to an online newspaper archive that goes into some detail.  It wasn’t completely unusual for a suitcase to contain a complete section of a newspaper and little else.  I wonder if H. L. had any connection to the Lipe family.  (Lipe is not his surname.)

Willard Suitcases

Walter arrived in February of 1945.  Nelson Rockford Socks are still available.

Willard Suitcases

Mary Agnes’ case just had this little metal clasp, a shoelace, a hairpin, and a label.

Willard Suitcases

And a pair of “leather-like” boots.

Willard Suitcases

Baker’s case was the only one where we found a bit of “racy” material.  Look closely to see the title of the painting.  Cheeky!

Willard Suitcases

The storage facility wasn’t always the warmest place to work (except in the summer).  Peggy Ross was always such a sport though, and only rarely complained.  We ate a lot of  hot/sour soup from the local Chinese restaurant for lunch, which helped us get through the day.

Check out the Willard Suitcases site to see the latest.  Thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / December 2013

 

I have been editing and uploading the suitcases in the order in which they were shot.  This process is quite drawn out as I shot well over 30,000 images during the project and it is an enormous task.  I have been feeling really good about it though, as I am spending most days until 1 PM working on the files.  The photos in this post are all from a shoot on the 11th of December 2013.  At this point, Peg and I had worked through many of the suitcases that were full, and in this stretch the cases were largely empty except for labels.

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Mary’s labels are quite evocative.  The small one on the left is unfortunately torn, so we can’t see her date of admittance, but the larger one on the right tells us that she came from Syracuse.  Dr Elliott’s name shows up often in our work, and I must assume that Elliott Hall at Willard is named after him.  (I can’t remember if I have ever linked to this before, but Dr. Robert E. Doran wrote a history of Willard in 1978 that is really interesting. Here is the link.)

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

There are so many small details that grabbed my attention when I was shooting.  This is all that was left of Mabel Y’s label.

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Norah’s label tells us quite a lot.  Her Willard number, her date of admission, from where she came and into which building she went.  Peggy and I often had a laugh over the description of the suitcases; “leather-like” was used constantly.  And occasionally “cardboard-like” appeared.  When you think of it, cardboard-like is probably…..cardboard!

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Ida came to Willard on 16 November 1929.  The string on the label is pretty and the Syracuse Post-Standard is from June of 1929.

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Charles and his small leather grip arrived from the Binghamton State Hospital.

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Richard’s case was clearly a traveling salesman’s and was completely empty.

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Here is a detail.  The Zanol Company was based in Cincinnati.

Willard Suitcases
©2012 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Finally for today, Alice R’s case had this nice thermometer, a clasp for holding up a stocking, and a card from a Christmas present.

Please go to the Willard Suitcases site to see more photographs of these particular cases.  Click on “The Cases” and scroll down to the bottom to see the latest additions.  Thanks for following.

The Lucky Bar

Posted in Family, football, Jon Crispin, soccer, Sport, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 21/01/2017

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Today is Peter’s birthday.  United were playing Stoke, so while Cris went to the Capitol for the march, he and I went to The Lucky Bar to watch the match.  I took this photo in added time, about a minute before Rooney equalized.  It was a great goal and the bar went wild.  So nice to watch football with him on his birthday.  Cris is on her way back to his flat, then out to dinner tonight.

Happy birthday, Laddie.

Olive at the Beach / Dolphins?!?

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Today is Olive’s last day at the beach this year.  The weather is incredible and she has been so happy being in the water almost every day.

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We bought her this green flying saucer type thing which really soars on a windy day.  She swims out to get it and then comes right back.

Except yesterday when Cris was playing with her.  Olive paddled out to the saucer and then started to swim out a bit farther into the ocean.  Cris couldn’t figure out what was going on, and then spotted dolphin fins. Olive must have sensed them as well.  It is hard to know what kind of interaction there would have been if she hadn’t come right back when called.  You would like to think that it would have ended in a nice “Flipper-like” scenario with lots of cavorting and intra-mammal bonding, but you never know.

Thanks to Bob and Kath for having us in the house again this year, and it is so great that they have been here for the latter part of our stay.  Heading back North tomorrow.

Willard Suitcases / Julianne Wick Davis

Posted in Music, Uncategorized, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 07/01/2017

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I flew up to New York City on Wednesday to sit in on an early rehearsal of a song cycle that Julianne Wick Davis is composing.  She came across the suitcases project a couple of years ago and asked permission to use my photographs as inspiration.  She hopes to end up with 20 songs, and had nine ready for the run through.  This was the first time she had heard them with voices other than her own.

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Julianne put together an amazing group of six actors and four musicians to perform the songs in a rehearsal room at NYU.

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Here she is working with Xander Rovang who was musical director for the day.

I was so pleased to be included, and came away feeling super excited about collaborating with her.  It is always a bit humbling to inspire creativity in others.  I am very excited about where this will end up.

Willard Suitcases / Stuart B / Oscar Wilde

Willard Suitcases 2013 Jon Crispin

I am getting a lot of editing done lately, and am feeling great about the images.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

Stuart’s (maybe Stuert, it appears both ways) case was full of interesting toiletries.  Several of the residents had Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

I have always wanted to avoid “fetishizing” the objects that came to Willard with the patients, but the design of the items in Stuert’s case really grabbed me.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

The attention to detail in commercial design during the time of these products is impressive.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

This Ever-Ready shaving brush had quite a bit of use.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

I love the typeface (or is it font?) on the Mennen talcum powder.  One wonders about the “neutral” tint, and on just how many faces it wouldn’t show.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

The above image is one of my favorites from the project.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

The Mennen Company is still in business, and are mostly known for their deodorants.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

Lander Perfumer; New York, Memphis, Montreal, and……Binghamton!

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

I am glad I (or Peg) thought to photograph the back of the “Locktite Humidizer”.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

It keeps your tobacco fresh, and they are definitely out of business.

Willard Suitcases ©2013 Jon Crispin

Thanks for following.  I have been uploading a ton of new cases on the Willard Suitcases site.  Go check it out, and don’t forget to click on the “view all” link at the bottom of each page.  25 is the default number and in many instances, there are more than that number in the gallery.

I was listening to “With Great Pleasure” on Radio 4 today while I was editing these photographs and heard this Oscar Wilde quote from “De Profundus”.  “Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground”.  I think he was right on the money.

Olive at the Beach

Posted in Animals, Beaches, Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Labradors, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 02/01/2017

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Due to the great generosity of my brother and sister in law, we are back at the beach for a bit.  Olive is thrilled.

Happy New Year to you all.

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