Jon Crispin's Notebook

Slate Magazine

Posted in Advertising, Asylums, Buildings, Travel, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 25/02/2013

Slate Magazine ran a really nice piece on the Willard Suitcase project.  Here’s the link.  Big thanks to David Rosenberg for his interest and doing a great job choosing and laying out the photos. / When I was recently  in San Francisco I stayed at this place.  It is a great old building and the staff are loads of fun.

7 Responses

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  1. drawandshoot said, on 25/02/2013 at 4:26 pm

    Such an incredible project. Best wishes with the show.

  2. johnny_nowhere said, on 26/02/2013 at 7:12 am

    Reblogged this on Sounds from the Outer Edges and commented:
    this is so mesmerizing! must see exhibit in April!

  3. execsupport said, on 04/03/2013 at 8:04 pm

    I am retired from the mental health field. The story behind the stashed suitcases that I’ve always heard was that the people being committed were allowed to bring a suitcase of personal possessions. The suitcases were then taken and put in the attic. Since most people never left, their suitcases were forgotten. This was not a practice limited to one facility. Also found in various facilities were unmarked graves and containers of cremains.

  4. steve harr said, on 04/03/2013 at 8:37 pm

    I am an elevator repairman in Rochester NY. I occasionally worked in the Willard facility.One of the benefits to my work is to get into the attics and basements of some fascinating places such as Willard,George Eastman House,Groveland Correctional in Sonyea,Powers Bldg,Eastman Theater,Strong Museum,many old mansions.In one funeral home i worked in,on shelves in the elevator control room,were the urns of cremated remains of people who were never called for.Some dating back to Pre WWII.To this day I think of those forgotten souls with great sadness and wonder.This story has touched me the same way.

    • joncrispin said, on 04/03/2013 at 9:20 pm

      Steve, great story. Having a job that gets one into places where most people don’t get to go is so interesting. You repair elevators and I take pictures, and we are both lucky to have access to these places. Best and thanks for your comment. Jon

  5. TJ said, on 06/03/2013 at 10:01 am

    Having been in a hospital for two years, when I was 17-19, when insurance didn’t reign, I met many people whom were relegated to the back wards. Volunteering was a unique experience, but, often sad, as I heard many “forgotten” people share their dreams and nightmares.

    It is, in part, what encouraged me to get my graduate degree in psychology and work in the mental health field, from age 19 as an entry level provider to developing a practice.

    I was always fascinated with my grandmother’s empty house, as well as abandoned buildings. I was always too scared to wander around, but, these photos are powerful reminders that we should never let a life go unnoticed!

    • joncrispin said, on 06/03/2013 at 11:02 am

      Thank you TJ for the kind words and interest in the project. Best, Jon


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