Jon Crispin's Notebook

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L.

Willard Asylum Suitcases Rodrigo L ©2015 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Rodrigo was an extremely literate man.  His collection of books was so interesting.

Willard Asylum Suitcases Rodrigo L ©2015 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

He was a writer as well, as this editorial from his Salt Lake High School yearbook illustrates.

Willard Asylum Suitcases Rodrigo L ©2015 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Rodrigo’s collection of books tells us so much about his view of the world.

Willard Asylum Suitcases Rodrigo L ©2015 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

From reading his writings, I got the sense that he was a bit lonely, and deeply spiritual.

Willard Asylum Suitcases Rodrigo L ©2015 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The autographs page of his yearbook had only his signature.

Willard Asylum Suitcases Rodrigo L ©2015 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I love the logo for Oliver R. Meredith’s Trunk Factory.  I looked for information online about the business, and didn’t find much about the company, but did come across this great gallery of photographs of trunk manufacturers.

Willard Asylum Suitcases Rodrigo L ©2015 Jon Crispin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

From time to time I like to post a nice photo of Peggy Ross, whom I can never thank enough for her help throughout the years that we have spent documenting the collection of suitcases.  I literally could not (and would not) have done this work without her help.

Thanks for following.  Check out all of Rodrigo’s collection here.  Moving on to Michael B. tomorrow.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L / Only One More

Posted in Candy, gum, gum wrappers, History, Institutions, Mental Health by joncrispin on 28/10/2015

I have always liked the ephemeral aspects of this project.  This would have been a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit wrapper from the early part of the 20th Century.  I am sure someone from Mars (owners of the brand) could date this one, but I couldn’t find a site that details the evolution of gum wrappers, so I would estimate somewhere between 1915 and 1925.  Why he saved the chewed piece of gum in the silver paper next to the button is anyone’s guess.

Yesterday, we finished shooting Rodrigo’s things.  In looking at our list, only one person remains.  John M’s case is being sent back from The Exploratorium, and there is a good chance that it will be in Albany by next week.  I went through a very emotional time some months ago while thinking about the shooting phase of the project ending.  I think what I will miss most is the impact of opening the cases and feeling a very real connection to these people who were patients at Willard.  The job of editing the photographs will be the next big push, and I am really looking forward to it.  I am a bit behind on uploading to the willardsuitcases.com site, and am hoping to be able to devote several days a week to working on that.

Thanks for all the support and interest in the project, and especially to folks who are ordering prints from the site.  Cheers.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L’s Books (Update)

Posted in History, Mental Health, philippine history, psychiatric centers, suitcases by joncrispin on 14/10/2015

Rodrigo had quite a few books.  While shooting yesterday we came across several objects that he had pressed between pages.  This feather is breathtakingly beautiful, and I love the discoloration on the opposite page.

This moth was quite intact.

But the dragonfly had lost one of its wings.

This is a classic oak leaf.

This is the book from which these came.  Here is a link to some information about José Rizal.

Thanks for following.

My buddy Dhyan had some information about the insects.  Here’s what she says.  Thanks!

  • That is a butterfly not a moth.  Butterfly wings go up.  Moth wings lay flat on the back. 
  • You have no idea how much time I “lose” because I get interested in things you publish.  I think this butterfly may be a kind of fritillary.  See attached pictures.  The one in the book is pretty faded. I didn’t see anything “exactly” like it in google.
  • Also, I think, looking at the picture that all the dragonfly wings are actually there.  Dragonflies have two on each side and there are four wings in the picture.

Mass Pike / Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L / Rochester

Posted in Cities, driving, History, Mental Health, Rivers, Travel by joncrispin on 07/10/2015

I started the day very early driving west on the Mass Pike on my way to shoot suitcases.

We were able to learn quite a bit about Rodrigo from his papers.  He came to Salt Lake City from the Philippines to attend high school.

He was always active in Filipino organizations in the US.  After Salt Lake, he moved to Chicago for a time, then onto Buffalo before ending up at Willard.

I did a quick search for Herbert Ray Olmsted and found this on RootsWeb.

OLMSTEAD HERBERT R., Portrait enlargements and kindred lines of Art Work, 		
	studio and office 5 Delevan, h 11 Gaylord   (See adv

Love Herbert’s stylish handwriting.

I am in an EconoLodge in Brockport, NY on my way to meet some Erie Canal folks to spend tomorrow shooting the autumn inspection of some of the locks east of Buffalo.  Stopped in Rochester for a bite to eat just as the evening was arriving.

Willard Suitcases / Rodrigo L

Posted in Asylums, Mental Health, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 24/07/2015

Willard Suitcases

Rodrigo was a reader.  His collection of books was extensive and interesting.

Rodrigo L

He was also a bit of a writer. Below is a novel that he wrote that was part of his library.

Rodrigo L

It is interesting how he changed the dedication.

Rodrigo L

He must have been working with some sort of editor or teacher, as there are lots of corrections in red ink.

Rodrigo L

Some of his books were from his days at Salt Lake High School.  The collected issues of the school publication “Red and Black” were among his books.

Rodrigo L

This was the only evidence of his byline that I could find.

Rodrigo L

Frustrating to have to obscure his surname.

There is so much amazing material here, and I have to keep reminding myself that I am just documenting the collection as a photographer, and not as a social historian.  The temptation is to photograph everything that made his life so interesting, but I reckon I would never finish.

Peggy was especially helpful is setting up and organizing our work yesterday.  Here is a shot of her cheerful presence in front of a setup for which she was largely responsible.  Thanks Peg.

Peggy Ross

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