Pack up all your cares and woes…
If you were committed to a psychiatric institution, unsure if you’d ever return to the life you knew before, what would you take with you? That sobering question hovers like an apparition over each of the Willard Asylum suitcases. From the 1910s through the 1960s, many patients at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane left suitcases behind when they passed away, with nobody to claim them. Upon the center’s closure in 1995, employees found hundreds of these time capsules stored in a locked attic. Working with the New York State Museum, former Willard staffers were able to preserve the hidden cache of luggage as part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Photographer Jon Crispin has long been drawn to the ghostly remains of abandoned psychiatric institutions. After learning of the Willard suitcases, Crispin sought the museum’s permission to document each case and its contents. In 2011, Crispin completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the first phase of the project, which he recently finished. Next spring, a selection of his photos will accompany the inaugural exhibit at the San Francisco Exploratorium’s new location…
Read the whole remarkable story, “Abandoned Suitcases Reveal Private Lives of Insane Asylum Patients,” and see more of Crispin’s remarkable photos, at Collectors Weekly.
[TotH to Rudy Rucker]
As we remember to “roll, not fold,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1959 that the Ford Motor Company announced that it would discontinue it’s Edsel line of cars. Introduced to great fanfare on September 4, 1957– “E Day”– total Edsel sales were only about 84,000– less than half the company’s projected break-even point.