Jon Crispin's Notebook

Boiled Egg

Posted in Food, History, Jon Crispin, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 18/08/2017

I have mostly been posting suitcase photos lately.  That project has really been on my mind, and I am really pushing to finish all the editing.

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But I have missed posting goofy stuff here, so I’ll try to start looking for things that catch my eye.

When I was shooting Masonic Temples around New York State I came across a collection of plates at Western Star Lodge #15 in Bridgewater.  Some months later I sent them some nice prints of what I shot that day and they were kind enough to send me a place setting.  I still use them most days.

Wishing you all a great weekend.

Willard Suitcases / Margaret D / 12 March 2015

Willard Suitcases
©2015 Jon Crispin

I have just uploaded another one hundred or so photographs to Margaret’s page.  Check it out here.

Willard Suitcases
©2015 Jon Crispin

There are some really interesting items here.

Willard Suitcases
©2015 Jon Crispin

My breath was a bit taken away when I opened the LaLure box and saw the beautiful cutlery inside.

Willard Suitcases
©2015 Jon Crispin

I love this tiny Statue of Liberty, which was one of several that we came across during our work on the suitcases.

Lots more of Margaret to come.  Thanks for following.  Tell your friends!

Willard Suitcases / Margaret D / 2 March 2015

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I just uploaded another batch of photos to Margaret’s page.  Check it out if you get the chance.  (Make sure you click on the “view all” button; the default view is 25 per page.)

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I think this little Devon Violets vase is beautiful.

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This lone pill was wrapped in the paper on which it is placed.  It is difficult to read the pencil writing but it looks like amid(something) barbital.

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Having seen other photographs of her, I am quite certain that it is Margaret in these shots.

Have a great weekend everyone, and thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / Margaret D / 17 February 2015

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Quite a few of the Willard residents brought small carved dogs with them.  This looks like a little Skye Terrier.  The thread collar is quite touching.

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The doggie theme is repeated here.  I believe that this is a strong thread wrapped around this paper that is used for bead work.

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There were thousands of these small (glass?) beads.

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I often tried to document Peg’s work and the care we took in putting everything back the way we found it.  These beads were difficult to wrangle, but I am pretty sure we got them all back in the bag.

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This photo really gets to me for some reason.  Check the comments for a description of this process as my pal Dhyan will probably chime in.  She has been following the project since early days, and I really appreciate her knowledge of anything to do with fabric and yarn.  Thanks Dhyan!

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Here’s some string wedged into a hair comb.  So many questions.

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I think we decided this is a post card of the well known dancer Ann Miller.  (Peg’s mom helped identify her if I remember correctly.)  I was pretty sure it was Bess Myerson.

I have started using the date of shooting in the title of these Margaret posts as it is the only way to differentiate the various posts from one another.  Check out the full uploads of Margaret’s things here.  There is a LOT more of her to come.

Willard Suitcases / Beginning Margaret D

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I have finished editing everything we shot in 2014 and have finally moved on to 2015.  Margaret D came to Willard with pretty much her entire household, including her car.  I have posted about her before, including this link which talks a bit about her life before Willard.

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She was a nurse who lived in the Ithaca area, and came to the institution with a number of highly starched uniforms and hats.

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Peg and I shot this trunk in February of 2014 and we finished photographing all of her possessions 4 months later.  Quite a collection.

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I will continue to post updates here as I work my way through all of Margaret’s things.

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It is exciting to think about completing the editing process on the project.  Once my schedule opens up I’ll be able to really push exhibits and publication.  Thanks for following, and to those of you who have been in direct contact I really appreciate the feedback.

Willard Suitcases / Michael D’A

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It was clear to us when we were setting up Michael’s shot that the wrapping contained crutches.

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They were in remarkable shape for being so old.

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Michael came to Willard from Manhattan State Hospital on Ward’s Island, but unfortunately we don’t have a date for his admittance.

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As I was editing the photographs this morning, I couldn’t remember precisely why I took the closeup shot below.

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As I looked closely the faint marks on the crutch stood out.  I wonder if he was making them in order to count days at Ward’s Island before he came to Willard.

You can see the latest here.  Thanks for following.

Willard Suitcases / Joseph A #3

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It took a while, but I finally finished editing Joseph’s two trunks.  Peg and I worked on them on two different days, three weeks apart and the photos did not end up in a logical sequence.  It took me a while to organize them for the suitcases site.

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Setting up and shooting cases containing lots of clothes presented challenges.  We always strove to make the arrangements look natural, but I in particular dreaded the days where all we had to work with was clothing.

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Another shout out to Peggy Ross here.  The museum had individually conserved each item and assigned it a unique catalogue number.  In instances of larger collections like Joseph’s, the items were stored not in the cases themselves, but in archival museum boxes.  Peg was instrumental in helping with the setup by unwrapping each piece and making notes about the box from which the items came, then helping me lay them out.

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I would then make a number of wide shots, and finally move in for the details.  Once the arrangement was in place, I rarely if ever moved the objects around.  I’m not sure why, but it was important to me to maintain the integrity of the original setup.  Once I finished shooting, Peg would rewrap each item in the original conservation material and return it back into the museum storage boxes.  In retrospect it is not surprising that it took  us over five years to shoot all the cases, and that it is taking me another two years to edit everything.  I am making great progress though.

I would also mention that the clothing photographs are now among my favorites.

Thanks for following.  If you want to see all of the photos from Joseph’s cases, click this link.  Don’t forget to click on the “view all” button.  The default setting only shows the first 25 images.

 

Willard Suitcases / Joseph A’s Wife

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that Joseph had two trunks in the collection and that one of them contained his wife’s clothes.

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An aspect of this project that I find most interesting is to do with questions that arise from looking at the possessions of the patients.  We know from yesterday’s post that Joseph’s trunks arrived more than a year after he was admitted.  The fact that so much of his wife’s clothing was sent to him makes me wonder if she was alive for part of that year, or if she had died before August of 1945 when he was admitted.  Did her death have something to do with his troubles?  Who sent the trunks to Willard over a year after he became a patient?

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There are, of course, answers to most of these questions.  They are in the patient records that are housed in the New York State Archives.  Due to state law and the policies of the State Office of Mental Health, almost no one (including the descendants of Willard patients) has access to these documents.

Early on in the project, I came to realize that my photographs could encourage viewers to think about the residents of Willard in a manner that went beyond their diagnoses.  In most ways, the official records are not relevant to my feelings about the 400+ people whose cases are in the collection.  As I continue to edit the images, my connection to the patients and staff at Willard continues to grow.

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Peg Ross and I came across numerous small doggies as we were shooting the suitcases.  This one is particularly cute.

I’ll have more to post tomorrow.  Cheers all.

Willard Suitcases / Joseph A

This week I have begun editing Joseph A’s two trunks.  I expect it will take quite a while to get through all the photographs, as one trunk contains a ton of his clothing and the other is full of his wife’s possessions. I hope to post daily as I work through the collection.

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I don’t believe I have posted an inventory before.  This one appears to have been put together by Willard employee M. McCarry; you can see her name on the bottom right.  Joseph was admitted in August of 1945, but it seems his trunks did not arrive at Willard until April of 1946.  Some of the annotations are interesting, especially the notes that indicate that some of the clothing was with him on the ward.

I won’t be uploading the entire collection for several days, but will hope to post a few photos from it daily.  Thanks for following.

Nixon Library

Posted in History, Jon Crispin, museums, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 27/06/2017

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, CA opened shortly after Cris and I got together.  Her mom, Dorothy Smith, was one of the early employees and worked at the ticket desk and on occasion, the gift shop.  (We have an amazing set of Camp David whiskey glasses thanks to her.)

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 We hadn’t visited in over 20 years and thought it might be time to check it out again.  (And it is not too far from the In-N-Out in Fullerton.)  My memories of it were quite positive, as I thought it told Nixon’s story in an objective and realistic manner.

The hallway above leads to a reproduction of the East Room where he gave his farewell speech to his staff.

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The exhibits provide a good sense of context about what was going on in the sixties.

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Here he is in all his glory.  This is such an iconic photograph.  I always thought that the “Nixon’s The One” slogan left a lot of room for ambiguity.  I like how LBJ appears to be  giving him the hairy eyeball in this shot.

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Great examples of Nixon election ephemera are spread throughout the museum.  What is up with the “Protest! and Win! with Nixon”?

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Here I am sitting at a recreation of Nixon’s desk in the fake oval office.  This is kind of funny for me.  My childhood friend Mike Hogan’s uncle, Vice Admiral Robert Bruce Brown was the Surgeon General of the Navy and lived at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.  Mike and I used to visit in the summer and Admiral Brown once took us to the White House for a tour.  One of his best friends was LBJ’s physician and we got the whole behind the scene look.  LBJ was out of town, but we saw his beagles Him and Her.  Later, as we walked past the Oval Office we were asked if we wanted to sit at the desk, which of course we did.  Still wish I had photographic evidence of that occasion.

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Here are some more great buttons.  Right on, Mister President!

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An entire section of the museum is dedicated to the Viet Nam war.

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Including a giant pile of correspondence from people both opposed to, and in favor of the war.

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Here’s the Colt .45 that Elvis gave to Nixon.  There is an amazing and totally bizarre story behind this gift.  Totally Elvis!

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These fake balloons are meant to be from the convention after he accepted the nomination (for the second time, I think).

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I had completely forgotten what a total ass kicking McGovern got in 1972.  This map pretty much says it all.  I was so bummed on election night after having driven from Springfield, Ohio to Meadville just to vote for George.  I am pretty sure I got totally wasted that night.

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But then came Watergate.  I wonder if the White House phone number is still 202 456 1414.  I like the special buttons for Chapin, Haldeman, and Rosemary Woods.  “Hey Rosemary, can you erase some of that tape for me?”

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“Sure Mr. President, no problemo”

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And let’s throw in some dirty tricks too!

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There are some very good recordings of the taping system for all to hear.  And if you are a researcher, the library component of the facility has the entire collection.  Amazing.

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There is something about this photo of Bork.  It reminds me of a promotional still from a bad 1970s era TV show.  After both Richardson and Ruckelshaus resigned instead of carrying out the order to fire Cox, Bork carried it out.  I think it must be one reason the long knives came out when he was nominated to the Supreme Court.  The political world hasn’t really been the same since.

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There are a few more cool exhibits toward the end of the walk-through.  Here is Cris hangin’ with Pat and Dick at the Rose Parade.

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I like this life size cutout in front of the door of his first law firm.

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The gardens are really beautiful.  Off in the distance is the house where Nixon and his brothers were born.  When Cris and I were first together in Placentia, we used to drive over to see it before the site became a museum.  It was then occupied by the custodian of the elementary school (now gone) where Cris got her polio vaccine sugar cube. It had a sign on it that said “Private Residence”.  It is amazing that most of the furniture inside now is original to the family and to the house.

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You can also go into the actual helicopter that flew him from the White House lawn when he resigned, although it was closed when we were there due to the heat.

  Thanks for following, and making it to the end of this long post.  More suitcases soon.

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