Sunday, February 9, 2014

Willard Suitcases

I am a lover of Vintage (I think we all know that by now) but there are other things that I have a passion for as well including Art, Photography, and History. Last week I stumbled across an article on my Facebook Newsfeed that spoke to all of these things and as I clicked the link and starting reading I was just mesmerized. Scrolling through the photos, videos and articles time just seem to get away from me, I looked up at the clock and realized that I had gotten totally lost in this project and several hours had passed by. Of course I knew I wanted to share this on my blog and contacted Jon Crispin the photographer to ask his permission to share his project and a few of his photos and he graciously said yes. So here we go:

I guess it all started with the discovery of 400 suitcases in the attic of the Willard Psychiatric Hospital in New York. The cases date from between 1910 and 1960 and belonged to former patients of the Willard Psychiatric Hospital. The cases were acquired by the New York Museum and some were put on display in 2004. Jon Crispin attended the exhibit of the cases and asked if he could photograph the suitcases and their contents. Lucky for us he was allowed to take on this beautiful project. 

(Of course this is a very abbreviated version, there is a good article in Collector's Weekly here with much more information or you can visit Willard Suitcases here to find out more)

Photos from the Project

Jon photographing the cases

 Jon talking about the Kickstarter Project

Video of Jon talking about the Project

Click here to find out more about Jon's Kickstarter Project.
You can also follow his blog Jon Crispin's Notebook

I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.


  1. Thanks for this post Helen, I loved going to the links and I'm now following Jon's blog xx

  2. I had not heard of this but I am fascinated. They are like little time capsules of someone's life. Amazing. I'm going to read more about them and the project. Thanks so much for sharing with us! Hugs, Linda

  3. Oh my what a bunch of awesome photos, I am also a lover of all things vintage

  4. I am so glad he was able to record this bit of history. Thank you for the information. I know where I will be browsing!

  5. I can't even imagine coming across such a find. No wonder you were lost for hours looking at this! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Helen--I'm visiting via We Call It Junkin' link party. I saw this exhibit when it was at the NYS Museum here in Albany. It was very moving--a really interesting snapshot of humanity and mental illness.

  7. Good morning Helen!
    What an incredible project! I'm always interested in who may have owned this vintage item or wore that dainty garment from decades ago. What an amazing glimpse into the lives of people who brought what was most important to them, only to be swept away to an attic to be suspended in time. Thank you for sharing Jon's incredible photographic journey with us.

    Blessings, Edie Marie

  8. What a wonderful discovery! So glad someone with an appreciation of history found them and did something good with them rather than just throwing them all in a landfill - what a tragedy that would have been! Thanks for bringing this to our attention, and thank you for sharing this on my History & Home Link Party this week, take care - Dawn @ We Call It

  9. These suitcases are fabulous! Each one is precious and tells the story of someones life. What a wonderful project! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  10. I came back to tell you that you've been featured on my Link Party Features Pinterest board! - Dawn

  11. When my daddy preacher man went to college, he had nothing with him but a suitcase an done suit of clothes and he hitch-hiked from GA to TN. He had a suitcase like the striped one. I sure wish I had gotten it.