Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / LaVerne W and abcnews.com

Posted in Asylums, History, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 15/01/2015

This photograph is from the last shoot of 2014.  LaVerne’s case held an amazing collection of postcards from Europe and some very interesting personal photographs. / Due to scheduling issues, Peg and I and won’t be able to get back to the project until later this month, but we are on the home stretch with the suitcases.  I would estimate that we have photographed at least 350 of the roughly 400 cases and it feels great.  The next phase (along with continuing to edit and upload to the site) will be to start talking to publishers and galleries.

Some very good news about coverage of the work.  In mid December I started to see an up tic in traffic on the web, and I have been receiving lots of interest and great feedback.  Just this morning abcnews.com ran a selection of the images.  It is featured quite high on their main page and here is the direct link.  Thanks so much to Kate at ABC News for her interest.

And a very interesting site in Brazil just ran a long article on the project.  The InstitutoMoreiraSalles (IMS) runs an online magazine called ZUM and they did a great job putting the piece together.  Here is the link.  If any of you read Portuguese, let me know how it sounds.

5 Responses

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  1. Andressa Lelli said, on 16/01/2015 at 7:25 am

    Hi, I’m Andressa Lelli from Brazil. I saw the article about the project – I confess I didn’t know it untill yesterday – in Instituto Moreira Salles website ( it is actually where I work). I am already interested in other peoples carachteristics and way of being, specially when it comes to disturbed minds.

    This project is way more than interesting and the article makes it even more appealing. It tries to capture people not by their faces or poses, but by their essence, by the way they used to communicate with their objects they carried around, by what it all meant to them.

    Congratulations. You did a fantastic job!

  2. andressalelli said, on 16/01/2015 at 7:25 am

    Hi, I’m Andressa Lelli from Brazil. I saw the article about the project – I confess I didn’t know it untill yesterday – in Instituto Moreira Salles website ( it is actually where I work). I am already interested in other peoples carachteristics and way of being, specially when it comes to disturbed minds.

    This project is way more than interesting and the article makes it even more appealing. It tries to capture people not by their faces or poses, but by their essence, by the way they used to communicate with their objects they carried around, by what it all meant to them.

    Congratulations. You did a fantastic job!

  3. […] where the suitcases came […]

  4. Cathy Zinkhon Matsumoto said, on 29/01/2015 at 10:15 am

    I ran across an article that was going around Facebook about your project. Each picture I saw was just beautiful. Thank you for taking the time and the care to “tell their stories”. It really speaks to the importance of one’s possessions and how each item meant something to that person. I found myself thinking “What would I bring with me if I was in a similar position?” Thank you for sharing these thought provoking photos with the world.

    • joncrispin said, on 29/01/2015 at 10:19 am

      Cathy, thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate that you understood the main reason why I am doing this work, which is to give a voice to the former residents of Willard. All best to you. Jon


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