Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Over The Top

Posted in Architecture, Asylums, Dance, Hadley Hall, History, Landscape, Willard Asylum by joncrispin on 04/03/2014

Well, it seems we made it.  Late this afternoon we went over the $20,000 goal, with 324 backers.  There is still just under 24 hours to go and I am hoping a few more folks will come in to be a part of the community.

I couldn’t find a date on this scan of a bird’s-eye  view of Willard, but I am guessing late 19th Century.  The main building in the foreground is Chapin House, which sadly, is now gone.

And this photograph is from a Hallowe’en party in Hadley Hall (also where movies were shown).  I assume it was taken sometime in the 1950’s.  The band almost certainly are not patients, but the dancers and the folks sitting around the dance floor would mostly be.  This room still exists, in fact it is where Karen Miller and I spoke at the Romulus Historical Society event this past summer.

Every time I write up a post here, or update the Kickstarter page, I find myself wanting to over-use the word  “amazing”.  This whole project is that way for me.  Amazing that I have access to the cases, amazing that the cases even exist,  the amazing lives that are revealed by the contents of the cases, the amazing people that are working with me (thanks Peg, and everyone at the museum), and  the amazing people that are supporting this work through Kickstarter and in so many other ways.  There, I think I got it out of my system.  But, you know, it is really something to be a part of all this.   Cheers everyone, and thanks.  I am back shooting the suitcases tomorrow, and hope to have an update in the evening when I get back.

10 Responses

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  1. Charles Seton said, on 04/03/2014 at 9:25 pm


  2. Hank. said, on 04/03/2014 at 9:38 pm

    Well, it really is. Yahoo, Jon. Hank has been keeping his toes crossed and even included this in his wish when he blew out his birthday candles (PNUT BUTTr! CHIKKIN!! CAKE!! Willard Suitcase project!! CHIKKIN!!) Big congratulations!

  3. BL Swinney said, on 04/03/2014 at 9:52 pm

    I have certainly enjoyed the posts that you have made concerning the men, women and the institute itself! The suit cases ARE amazing. The photos are giving us a glimpse of what life must have been like for the people there. What their life was like before and during their time at the institute. Wonder how many people in the photo were some of the ones who owned the suitcases you are working on. Thank you for giving these fine people back their dignity and sharing a glimpse into their lives. —

  4. David said, on 04/03/2014 at 10:00 pm

    Congratulations! I’m so glad I was able to be a small part of this campaign!

  5. marketing4introverts said, on 05/03/2014 at 12:21 am

    Jon, I’m so happy… for you and for the people whose lives you are “saving.” I hope this will not be the end of hearing from you. I’ve gotten so interested. dhyan

  6. cindif said, on 05/03/2014 at 8:28 am

    So happy Jon!!!

  7. Lisa Gordon said, on 05/03/2014 at 12:47 pm

    A very big congratulations to you, Jon!

  8. Kay said, on 05/03/2014 at 7:46 pm

    YAY!!! In the 1960’s our Girls Chorus, from Trumansburg (Charles O. Dickerson) High School did a Christmas “show” at Hadley Hall for the rersidents. This was at my “instigation”. As I have mentioned, 3 generations of my family were Willard employees.

    • joncrispin said, on 11/03/2014 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Kay, not sure if you get notification of reply posts, but I would be interested in talking to you sometime about your Willard experiences. Could you email me directly mailatjoncrispindotcom? Once I am done shooting the cases, I am eager to work on a documentation of former staff and patients. All best, and thanks. Jon

  9. Photobooth Journal said, on 06/03/2014 at 4:57 pm

    Yes, it really is amazing, astonishing, astounding, eye-opening, sometimes startling, stunning, emotional, sad, revealing, fascinating etc. Thank you for including us in your journey!

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