Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / More Labels / Peg

Willard Suitcases

I am just about finished up editing the December 2013 shoots.

Willard Suitcases

The cases were mostly empty, but this newspaper is interesting.  It describes a particularly tragic boating accident in Alexandria Bay, NY that occurred in August of 1929.  I did a bit or research.  Here’s a link to an online newspaper archive that goes into some detail.  It wasn’t completely unusual for a suitcase to contain a complete section of a newspaper and little else.  I wonder if H. L. had any connection to the Lipe family.  (Lipe is not his surname.)

Willard Suitcases

Walter arrived in February of 1945.  Nelson Rockford Socks are still available.

Willard Suitcases

Mary Agnes’ case just had this little metal clasp, a shoelace, a hairpin, and a label.

Willard Suitcases

And a pair of “leather-like” boots.

Willard Suitcases

Baker’s case was the only one where we found a bit of “racy” material.  Look closely to see the title of the painting.  Cheeky!

Willard Suitcases

The storage facility wasn’t always the warmest place to work (except in the summer).  Peggy Ross was always such a sport though, and only rarely complained.  We ate a lot of  hot/sour soup from the local Chinese restaurant for lunch, which helped us get through the day.

Check out the Willard Suitcases site to see the latest.  Thanks for following.

7 Responses

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  1. Carolyn Rogers said, on 02/02/2017 at 4:02 pm

    Haunting pictures and so sad to think of these patients, Jon.

    • joncrispin said, on 02/02/2017 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks Carolyn. If it is any consolation, I have spoken with many retired Willard staff and there was a level of care there that was better than at most NYS Psych centers. When Willard closed in 1995, long time patients were heartbroken to leave what was the only home some of them knew as adults. It is so very complex, but I do feel that as far as institutions go, Willard was not a totally bad place to live. Jon

  2. Molly Maka said, on 02/02/2017 at 5:21 pm

    The shoes in the case actually look like the rubber over boots ladies would wear over their heels to keep their feet out of the wet and snow. Like this:

    • joncrispin said, on 02/02/2017 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Molly, I think you nailed it. The suitcases are so full of amazing objects, and I love it that folks who read the posts can relay information about them. Thanks a ton for the comment. jon

  3. Tania M said, on 09/03/2017 at 8:53 am

    I wonder if at some point in time any “racy” material found in the possessions of a patient would have been discarded.

  4. BL said, on 24/03/2017 at 1:19 am

    Jon, what period do the earliest suitcases appear to be from?

    • joncrispin said, on 24/03/2017 at 10:40 am

      The word I have always gotten was that the collection dates from 1910 to 1965. Some of the patients clearly arrived at Willard sometime toward the end of the 19th Century.

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