Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Margaret D / 14 April 2015

Willard Suitcases 
Margaret D.
©2015 Jon Crispin

I am working my way through Margaret’s cases and her collection never ceases to amaze me.  You can see the latest here. (Don’t forget to click “view all” as there are now close to 500 images in her collection.)

Willard Suitcases 
Margaret D.
©2015 Jon Crispin

Margaret brought quite a number of sewing items with her when she came to Willard, including the above stencil with Masonic designs.

Willard Suitcases 
Margaret D.
©2015 Jon Crispin

I am currently editing a shoot that was mostly delicate items like the above undergarment, as well as some of her nursing uniforms.  I’ll have a post up sometime in the next few days with those photos.

I would also mention that Margaret was one of the 10 folks originally featured in the State Museum’s 2004 exhibit.  The made-up surname they used for her was Dunleavy and if you do a search for her name and Willard you should come across very detailed information about her life.  The “Lives They Left Behind” book has a surprisingly complete history of her life before Willard.

I am often asked about how much I know about the patient’s lives before and during their time at the institution.  It is way too complex for me to elaborate here, but needless to say, I have very strong feelings about my need to separate the patient’s clinical lives from what we can learn about them through their possessions.  I tend to talk about it when I present the project to various groups, so maybe one day we will get the chance to meet up and chat.  Thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / Margaret D. / Uniforms

Posted in Abandoned Buildings, History, Institutions, Mental Health, nurses uniforms by joncrispin on 14/05/2015

We are still working on Margaret D’s cases.  This is the second batch of nursing uniforms that we have photographed.  She worked in various hospitals in Upstate New York before coming to Willard as a patient.

All of her things are in good condition, and these garments are all clean and moderately starched.

As I grew up in Meadville, PA (home of Talon Zippers!), I always look at any that are in the collection.  It was by far the most popular of all zippers throughout most of the 20th Century.  Many of my friend’s parents worked for the company.

I leave tomorrow for the open house that takes place at Willard on Saturday.  I will be spending time at the cemetery, and hanging out at the Romulus Historical Society building with Peggy Ellsworth, who is a former Willard employee and trustee of the historical society.  If you are attending the event, please track me down and introduce yourselves.  I hope to see you there.

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