Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Willard Suitcase Collection

A while ago I stumbled across this collection of photographs of some suitcases left by patients at the Willard Asylum in New York between 1910 and the 1960s, taken by photographer Jon Crispin. The contents of the cases are fascinating, and provide a unique glimpse into the lives of their owners.

Here is a bit more background info by the photographer from his Kickstarter page about how the project began:

"In 1995, the New York State Museum was moving items out of the Willard Psychiatric Center in Willard, NY which was being closed by the State Office of Mental Health. It would eventually become a state-run drug rehabilitation center. Craig Williams and his staff became aware of an attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building. The cases were put into storage when their owners were admitted to Willard sometime between 1910 and the 1960s. And since the facility was set up to help people with chronic mental illness, these folks never left. An exhibit of a small selection of the cases was produced by the Museum and was on display in Albany in 2003. It was very moving to read the stories of these people, and to see objects from their lives before they became residents of Willard."

You can view the rest of Crispin's photos from the ongoing project here.


  1. Old suitcases are fascinating and full of history.

    I'm looking for one, to put some books in it.

    Have a nice evening :)

  2. How interesting. And a little sad too.

    Camila Faria

  3. Whoa, that's so beautiful but yet haunting and sad. It's so interesting to peruse things that have been untouched for centuries - that they still exist the same in a world that has changed almost completely. Enchanting. xx Tess


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