Jon Crispin's Notebook

Anna Lucille Earley, Willard Nurse

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

I got a call a few weeks ago from Craig Williams telling me that a trunk had been discovered in the attic of the Covert Funeral Home in Ovid, NY that belonged to a woman who was a nurse at Willard in the early part of the 20th Century.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

At that time Craig wasn’t too sure of many of the details but thought I might be interested if anything came of it.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Craig has been working at the Romulus Historical Society with Peggy Ellsworth who worked at Willard and has been a great friend to the suitcases project.  Peg has been the go-to person for all things Willard since the institution closed in 1995.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Last Friday Paul McPherson who is the current director of the funeral home brought the trunk to the historical society for Craig and Peg to have a look.  They were really enthused and Craig called to see if I could take a few photos as he unpacked the items and started to conserve and catalogue the collection.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

The contents of the trunk are in great shape, and it is amazing to see how well preserved the items are.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

I love seeing these old commercial products in their early packaging.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

There were several mounted photographs in the trunk, as well as this envelope which contain a large number of photographic negatives.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Craig scanned a few and the quality is amazing.

photo baseball rs

The Willard baseball team was almost certainly made up of staff, and not patients.  But one has to wonder if any of the patients ever made it onto the diamond.

photo nurses rs

I think this scan was from a print.  In addition to having worked at Willard as a nurse, she was a graduate of the institution’s school of nursing.  Craig and Peg are looking at the images to try to figure out which one in the photos is Anna.  None are identified on the back, so it might be quite a job.

earley neg 05s

The above photo is especially exciting, as the building in the background is the sheltered workshop where the suitcases were stored in the attic and were rediscovered in 1995.  The collection of cases dates from 1910 to 1965 and Anna was at Willard starting in the late teens, so it is very likely that she worked with some of the owners.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

As we found in many of the suitcases there is a broad range of items in Anna’s trunk; she had saved things that can tell a fairly complete story of her life, and more broadly, what life at Willard was like in the 1920s.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

This box contains a lot of personal correspondence, including some very interesting postcards.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

It took a minute to figure out this one.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

It became clear once we saw the “soldier’s mail” postmark.  Let’s hope H. C. Norris made it through the war safely.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

As a nurse at Willard, she would have lived on the grounds and received her mail there.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

This inscription is especially touching and a bit mysterious.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Craig and I didn’t have much time to go through the notebooks, but this is a huge trove of original source material that will be interesting to study once everything is catalogued.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Perhaps the most intriguing is this small diary from 1918 which contains day to day accounts of Anna’s life at Willard.  To the left is a playbill for “Farmer’s Daughter” which played at Hadley Hall on the Willard grounds.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Anna’s Student’s Note Book is pretty interesting.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Her hand writing is very readable.   I didn’t see any crossed out sections as I flipped through the pages.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

This small brooch is pretty.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

The trunk itself is is great shape.

Trunk belonging to Anne Earley, nurse at Willard.

Anna is buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Ovid.  Craig took this photo of her gravestone.

_DSC8853es

The Romulus Historical Society will be putting an exhibit together of the trunk and contents sometime soon.  The museum is located in the town of Willard and is only open until the end of September.  It is not clear if anything will happen before then, but Peggy is eager for the collection to see the light of day.  I’ll update here when I know details.  There is obviously a ton of work to be done researching Anna’s life, but this is really an amazing find.

Special thanks go to Paul McPherson for contacting the historical society with this incredible look into the life of Anna.  A find like this really brings history alive.  It will be interesting to see what develops once everything is conserved and catalogued.  And as always thanks to Peggy Ellsworth for her tireless work in remembering the patients and staff at Willard, and to Craig Williams for keeping me in the loop.

 

 

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.

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.

Willard Suitcases / Madeline C. / Ovid talk

Posted in History, Mental Health, old hotels, old photographs by joncrispin on 23/09/2015

One of the cool things for me about Madeline’s collection is that she had the negatives for many of her photographs.  The museum did a fantastic job in conserving and co-ordinating the negatives with the prints.

When I turned over this particular postcard, I was thrilled to see that she had stayed at the Prince George Hotel in New York City.  I have overnighted there twice, and both were memorable.  The first time I had just turned 16 and I, along with my friends Jeff, Jay, and Dennis drove to the city from Meadville and were there for a few nights.  The other occasion was sometime in the early 1980s.  That one got a bit weird.

Tomorrow I drive to Ovid for my talk at the public library.  Edith B. Ford Library, 7pm.  Hope to see you.  I also expect to be there on Friday at noon for a brown bag lunch.

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