Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcase #5

Posted in History, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 16/10/2011

This suitcase belonged to Mary W.

Hers was the second wicker case I photographed last Thursday.

As I have mentioned before, I haven’t any idea what I will find when I unwrap the cases.  This one felt a bit heavier than others and when I opened it, it was mostly filled with fabric and lace that I am assuming Mary had made.

There was a lovely feel about the material as I unwrapped each piece.

A mark similar to the one above was on several of the towels.  At first I thought it was a date, but I am not so sure.

I believe these tags are from Willard and not the museum.  It looks like her case was entered into the system in the 1960s.

The detail on the lace pieces is beautiful.

Lots of interesting shapes and sizes.

Thursday was very productive.  Mary had only the one case with the lace and towels, but I also shot 3 cases that belonged to another person.  I’ll edit those photos and get them up soon.  Many thanks to Peggy Ross who helped me rewrap the cases, and as usual to Craig Williams for all his support.  If you are seeing these for the first time, please check out my project on Kickstarter.

13 Responses

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  1. Brad said, on 17/10/2011 at 9:04 am

    This was a good one. I have a question for you the next time we talk on the phone.

  2. Alison Gothard said, on 28/10/2011 at 5:51 pm

    The writing on the towel says 9 Mei. If it is German, that is 9 of May, which is the day before the suitcase was registered at the hospital. Coincidence?

  3. G. Rodriguez said, on 02/11/2011 at 12:53 pm

    The ink writing on the towels are probably launderers marks to identify a specific customers belongings. My clothes, growing up at home and at boarding school carried similar markings.

  4. Cheryl Brown said, on 02/11/2011 at 6:59 pm

    Wow your photographs are wonderful. As a crocheter and history buff I love seeing things like this. I was very interested in the towels with the intricate crochet work. Would love to know the age of the pieces and where they came from. Would you be able to take a picture of the entire towel?
    Thank you.

  5. Melodie said, on 02/11/2011 at 7:15 pm

    Lovely crocheted lace. The workmanship is wonderful and I just adore the string of small shells.

  6. Anne said, on 02/11/2011 at 7:32 pm

    I agree that the marks on the towels are laundry marks. I went away to college in 1968 and had very similar marks on all my towels and sheets that were washed at the college laundry. I can even remember the laundry mark for my first year– IAK-W-221, the first three letters being my last, first, and middle initials, the middle “W” for “Willard,” the name of the dorm; “221” for the room number. This is a wonderful collection, and I’ll enjoy exploring it with you!

  7. Lesli said, on 02/11/2011 at 8:07 pm

    Was there a tatting shuttle in the case? The work looks like the tatting my gran used to do.

  8. J Kriegel said, on 02/11/2011 at 10:47 pm

    Looks like she liked to crochet or was given crocheted doilies or flowers. Very nice work on the leaves.

  9. Jan Brockway said, on 02/11/2011 at 10:47 pm

    The case itself looks very much like the 60’s (I had one just like it), but the tatting, lace, and huck towels appear to be much older… perhaps some things her family members had worked on in earlier days? Just found your link through NPR; fascinating project!

  10. […] Suitcase #1, Willard Suitcase #2, Willard Suitcase #3, Willard Suitcase #4, Willard Suitcase #5, Willard Suitcase #6, Willard Suitcase #7, Willard Suitcase #8, Willard Suitcase #9, Willard […]

  11. Danny Boson (@Singedrac) said, on 24/08/2013 at 4:25 pm

    I used to have this exact same wicker case! I remember every detail from childhood. My family got it as a souvenir on a trip to Mexico.


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