Jon Crispin's Notebook

Great Dane

Posted in Animals, Automobiles, Dogs, driving, Jon Crispin, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 20/09/2017

Danewp

I was driving back from a shoot in the Albany area last week and as I was waiting at a light on Route 9 in Hadley I saw this guy.  He is a really beautiful dog and I think his name is Felix.  His chauffeur rolled her window down and chatted for a minute (it was a long light).  Check out the slobber on the B-Pillar.

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Vegetable Stock / Dinosaur Jr.

Posted in Music, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 10/09/2017

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Today was a good day to make a vegetable stock.  I have been saving scraps all summer and the bag in the freezer was full to bursting.  Here is some history.  It smells great and will make a nice risotto.

My friend Tom from Outer Stylie told me last week that Dinosaur Jr. would be playing an unannounced set on the Amherst Town Common today at 3.00 as a warm up for Riot Fest in Chicago.

Dinosaur Jr on the Amherst Town Common

I have been wanting to see these guys locally for a long time.  J Mascis grew up in Amherst and started the band just after high school.  I see him around town all the time riding his bike or at the coffee shop or walking his dog (this is a great video).

Dinosaur Jr on the Amherst Town Common

They are LOUD live.  They played a gig on the top floor of  Laughing Dog Bicycles once that I missed but that apparently shook the building to its foundations.

Dinosaur Jr on the Amherst Town Common

J plays these great old Fender Jazzmasters.

Dinosaur Jr on the Amherst Town Common

Lou Barlow plays his bass almost like a rhythm guitar.  Love the hair.

Dinosaur Jr on the Amherst Town Common

They were set up on the town common under some trees, and Murph’s drum kit kept moving around.  At one point his tom fell over and this symbol lost its footing.  Some guy came up from the crowd and reset it for him.

It was particularly exciting to see a band that is so seminal in rock and really quite famous setting up in the middle of town and playing a set for anyone who happened by.  It is nice to be reminded that well known, creative people live lives very much like the rest of us.  They live in towns, they have families and friends, and occasionally they play a very loud set on the Amherst  Town Common. I wonder what the folks staying at the Lord Jeffrey Inn thought.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 / 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.

Eclipse 2017

Posted in Jon Crispin, Science, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 21/08/2017

One day as Peg and I were shooting the suitcases I began to feel that one of my strobes was misfiring.  They are very bright and it was impossible to look into it and see if one of the flash tubes was intermittent or not.  Peg said that she thought that she had just the trick to be able to look at it when it was firing.  On our next shoot, she showed up with these and they worked a treat.  I stuck them back in my camera case and only remembered earlier today that I still had them.

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We might have been the only people in the States with  glasses from l’Eclipse du 11 août 1999.    I love the look of happiness on Cristine’s face.

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Protégez-vous les yeux indeed!  Thanks Peg!

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This kid was the best though.  A “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” t-shirt and a welder’s mask.  He came prepared.

Willard Suitcases / Margaret D / 17 March 2015

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Another large batch of Margaret D photos are now up on the suitcases site.

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As mentioned before, Margaret came to Willard with her car as well as all the paperwork from the purchase.

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She bought a brand new 1934 6 cylinder Dodge Coupe.  Such a beautiful automobile.

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She was a great traveler and planned her trips meticulously.

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This one looks like it would be a fun drive.

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This was the only will that we came across in the collection.

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The above list is interesting as it appears that she wrote down her work history most likely in preparation for applying for a job.  It is one of the clearest documents showing the specifics of a life before Willard.

More to come from Margaret later in the week.  Cheers everyone.

 

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.

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