Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Harry M

Willard Suitcases
Harry M 
© 2013 Jon Crispin

Harry M’s case wasn’t technically a suitcase, but it contained some interesting things.

Willard Suitcases
Harry M 
© 2013 Jon Crispin

I’m not sure what the wooden object on the left is, but the Latimer White Petroleum Jelly label is quite nice.  And the Prell shampoo bottle is classic.  The label had fallen off, but it has the “Rinse, Lather, Repeat” admonition that got consumers to use twice as much as they probably needed.

I have been editing and uploading more of the suitcases, and you can see the latest here.  Just click on “The Cases” at the top of the page.  Thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / L W M

Willard Suitcases LWM

L. W.’s case was largely empty save for this purple piece of rope and a half-smoked cigar.  It stikes me as a pretty good metaphor for a life interrupted.  You can check out the other photographs on the suitcases site.  Thanks for following, and I wish you all a lovely weekend.

Willard Suitcases / Charles F

Willard Suitcases Project

I mentioned earlier this week that I was hoping to get Charles F’s photographs uploaded by the end of the week, and here is a sample.  To see the rest of the collection, please go to the Willard Suitcases site.

Willard Suitcases Project

From the little I know about Charles, he came to Willard somewhat later in his life. I have no way of knowing if the portrait in the above photograph is he, or someone near to him, but whenever I think about his life, this image comes to mind.

Willard Suitcases Project

The tassels on his tallit are especially evocative to me.

Willard Suitcases Project

I believe that this is the publisher of some of his books.  I did a search for it but came up empty.  Any help would be welcome.

Willard Suitcases Project

His starched collars were still in quite good condition.

Willard Suitcases Project

I have no way of knowing if he was in the military, but I would guess that this canteen was army surplus.

Willard Suitcases Project

Here is a close up of his naturalization papers, which date to October of 1896.

Willard Suitcases Project

Many of the suitcases in the collection contain scraps of paper with hand-written notes on them.  I find that these can be especially interesting.

Willard Suitcases Project

 One of Charles’ cases had this selection tools (and a razor).

Willard Suitcases Project

  Please check out the rest of my photographs of Charles’ possessions on the suitcases site, and thanks for following.

Design Observer / Jessica Helfand

 

design observer

Very shortly after the first Willard Suitcases kickstarter went up I received an email from Jessica Helfand expressing her interest in the project.  She soon invited me down to New Haven to speak to her Yale freshman seminar class, “Studies in Visual Biography”.  Here is a post I did just after that first visit.  I have subsequently been to her class on several other occasions and it is always very stimulating and fun.

As well as teaching at Yale, Jessica and her late husband Bill Drenttel created Design Observer, which is a fantastic website devoted to creativity and design.  That description doesn’t do it justice though, as it is so much more than that.  It is really worth checking out on a regular basis.  In addition to the site, Design Observer recently started publishing a quarterly magazine.  The second issue is just out, and they included a huge spread on the suitcases.  I am just so honored to be a part of the issue, and it looks great.  Here is a link to purchase it, and I would really recommend all of you interested in the project to do so.  It includes many suitcase photographs that haven’t been published before.  Special thanks go to  Eugenia Bell, who did a great job selecting the images, and making sure it all came together.  She was a joy to work with.

As we were saying goodbye after that first class at Yale, Jessica reached out, hugged me and said “We’re friends now!”  It was a most touching gesture and I have rarely felt so quickly welcomed into someone’s life.  She has been a massive supporter of the project who has helped me in so many ways, and I am very fortunate to be her friend.

Gordon Krighoff

Posted in Art, ephemera, Family, History, painters, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 16/02/2016

Gordon Krieghoff

I have mentioned my Krieghoff connection before.  Like Cornelius, Gordon was also a painter, and he lived and worked in Detroit, which is where my mom grew up. If I remember correctly, they were contemporaries, although Gordon was somewhat older.  In addition to works like the one above, he was also a commericial artist.

While my family doesn’t have any Cornelius paintings, we do have quite a few of Gordon’s.  There is not much of a market for his work, and there isn’t much information online about his life.  It is possible that my brother or sister know more than I, and they might add something in the comments.  I don’t ever remember meeting him as a child.

When my parents died, we siblings each got several of the paintings.  The frames were in pretty good shape but the mats were yellowed and probably not acid-free.  This is the second one that I have had reframed, and like the first, there was something sketched out on the reverse side of the painting.

Gordon Krieghoff painting

This is clearly the beginning of what was probably an advertisement of some sort.  I know he did illustrative work for some of the larger Detroit companies, including General Motors.  Like many of us, I wish I had more concrete facts about my extended family history.

Olive’s New Bowl

olivebowlwp

When Judy Berde and I were making arrangements for my talk on Roosevelt Island, I got an email from her asking if I had a dog.  The question came out of nowhere, but I told her about Olive.  When I finished my talk she presented me with a box with this amazing gift inside.  Olive now has a new bowl, and she loves it!  (Well, it has food in it and she is a Labrador; what’s not to like?)  I think these bowls are for sale through the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, as well as mugs with the same text. Any of you who live in the metro New York area should think about joining the organization; Judy does a great job and the island has a really interesting history.

Olive is also now rocking a new Red Sox collar, which is a gift from my sister Karen.  Thanks Sis.

Willard Suitcases / Virginia W

Willard Suitcases Projecty

©2013 Jon Crispin
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Virginia’s case is pretty great.  I can’t quite make out the date of her admittance, but it is sometime in the early 1950’s.  It is interesting that these were the only two books she brought with her to Willard.

Good news about the willardsuitcases.com site.  Steve Fox was able to troubleshoot the problem, and it is back up and looking good.  I just added Virginia’s case, so you might want to check it out.

I am looking forward to seeing some of you in New York next week.

Bradley Airport Terminal B

Bradley Airport Terminal B

Peter and I used to drop off Cristine at this terminal when she would be leaving on some of her long trips to South Asia for work.  After she went to her gate he and I would sit on a bench at curbside and record the names and numbers on the shuttle vans as they came past.  I still have some of the notebooks that we used all those years ago.

On Friday I drove her to the airport for a brief trip to DC and on the approach road, this is what we saw.  I guess I knew that they would be tearing it down at some point, but it was still a bit of a shock. / She flies in later tonight, but I came down early to try to get a shot.  The sun went below the horizon within 30 seconds of taking this photo and the light changed completely.  It is always amazing to me that a building once so full of activity could be reduced to this.  It will be completely gone very soon.

Willard Suitcases/Margaret D./NYC Talk

Willard Suitcases ©2015 Jon Crispin

Margaret D. came to Willard with almost all of her household, including her car.  I posted here and here about her before. / The cutlery in the La Lure box is very cool.

On Tuesday the 9th of February I will be giving a presentation about the suitcases sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.  It will take place at the New York Public Library branch, 524 Main Street on the island.  The start time is 6.30 pm and I would encourage anyone coming to get there a bit early, as the branch closes at 7.45 and we will need to start on time.

 There is very little on-street parking, I would encourage everyone to come by public transport.  (Hey, it’s New York City!)  Here is a link for travel directions.  If you are coming by tram, the station is at Second Avenue and 60th Street.  You will need to pay with a Metrocard ($2.75).  When you arrive on the island, take red bus (free) to the second stop and walk forward about 50 yards to the library.  If coming by subway, take the F train from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island.  Then the red bus to the first stop and walk 50 yards to the library.  If you follow the project online or have been in touch directly, please come up and introduce yourself.  I will be in the building by 5.00, I hope, and will have time to chat once everything is set up.  Hope to see you there.

 I noticed today that the willardsuitcases.com site is acting up a bit.  All of the information below the photograph on the splash page seems to have disappeared.  Fortunately everything else seems to be working, including access to the cases page.  I have a call in to Steve Fox who did a beautiful job designing the site, and I hope we can get it cleared up soon.

Willard Suitcases / Nora M

willard suitcases nora m

Even though I am in South Carolina taking a short break, I’m still trying to get quite a bit of editing done on the suitcases project.  Nora M’s cases are pretty amazing.

Willard Suitcases Projecty ©2013 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The above shot is a great example of how the museum conserved and catalogued each item in the collection.  In the photo below you can see how Peg and I unwrapped and set up Nora’s cutlery.

Willard Suitcases Projecty ©2013 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In the past few days I have been able to upload several more cases to willardsuitcases.com, so please go check them out.  On the main page, click on “The Cases” at the top of the page.  There are quite a few shots on Nora’s page, so be sure to click “view: all” underneath the “Add To Cart” button.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for following.

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