Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Irma M / Print Sales

Posted in Asylums, History, Institutions, Mental Health, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 30/09/2015

I have spent quite a bit of time over the past few days working on Irma’s photographs in order to upload them to the site.  Included in her things were several professionally done portraits of her, as well as many indications of what her life was like before coming to Willard.  If you would like to check out the collection, go to the site, then “The Cases”, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see her name.  Make sure you click on “View: ALL”, so as to see all of the photos.  It is well worth having a look.

I have set up the site so that you can order prints from the project.  It is a fairly simple procedure.  When you click on an image in a collection, you will see an “Add to Cart +” button.  Click it and from there you will have 3 sizes from which to choose.  Just follow the directions about payment, and I will be notified.  I’ll then make the print in my studio, sign it, and ship it off.  Couldn’t be easier, and it will help the project tremendously.  Thanks so much.

5 Responses

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  1. Nelly Neurotic said, on 30/09/2015 at 4:05 pm

    I write a small mental illness blog, hence my name. I am not from New York but I would like to write a post about my opinion on why these people’s names should be permitted to be used. It restores their dignity and it gives them back the right to be looked at as more than just a number on a grave marker or a person in an asylum. I know that sounds weird but it means something to those of us who deal with stigma on a daily basis. It is taking a stand for these people, the many that came before them, and the many of us that have come after them. I would like your permission to put a link of your suitcase site in my blog post, if that is okay with you. I think what you are doing with this is wonderful. These people deserve to be remembered. It puts a bit of humanity back into something that has been sterilized, sanitized, and largely ignored and forgotten by the world for decades and I thank you for that.


    • joncrispin said, on 30/09/2015 at 4:22 pm

      Dear Nelly, I could not have said it better myself. It is more than ok for you to post a link, and I am honored that you see something in my photographs that helps to remember these people who lived at Willard. I’ll send you an email to make a connection. Thank you so much. Jon

  2. B Swinney said, on 06/10/2015 at 12:25 pm

    The photos were fascinating…I enjoyed watching them as the slideshow. What beautiful places and exciting life Irma must have led. Wonder how she felt when she arrived at Willard’s. Must have been a quieter life for her. I wonder if there are any medical records somewhere that maybe tell why she was admitted. Thank you for sharing her life. I tried to google some of the images of her portrait, but I couldn’t. The books were fascinating as well. I wondered about the photo of the young man with her (was it her brother? or someone she was in love with? or a husband?) Several photos of people, and children…creates questions that I would love to find out more about. I wonder how old Irma was when she entered Willard….? Thank you for sharing.

    • joncrispin said, on 06/10/2015 at 12:36 pm

      Barbara, Irma is one of the folks on which I do have some information. I’ll try to send you an email soon. Don’t hesitate to remind me though. Best, Jon

      • B Swinney said, on 06/10/2015 at 10:38 pm

        Thank you..I just saw some photos of Irma on your FB page. When I googled her I came up with another Irma M…. Who was from Italy. I will be looking forward to hearing from you.

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