Item Details

Meaning from Juxtaposition: A Conversation with Photographer Jon Crispin about the Willard Asylum Suitcases

Issue: Vol 3 No. 1 (2016)

Journal: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology

Subject Areas: Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jca.v3i1.30524


An interview and accompanying photographic essay around Jon Crispin's photographs of a collection of abandoned suitcases found at a now-closed psychiatric center at Willard, in upstate New York. Many held the possessions of former patients and ranged in date from the turn of the 20th century into the late 1960s. The suitcases have now been accessioned to the permanent collection of the New York State Museum in Albany, NY.

Author: Jon Crispin, Zoë Crossland

View Full Text

References :

Dwyer, E. 1987. Homes for the Mad: Life Inside Two Nineteenth-century Asylums. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Pamuk, O. 2012. The Innocence of Objects. Istanbul: The Museum of Innocence / New York: Harry N Abrams.
Penney, D. and P. Stastny. 2008. The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from A State Hospital Attic. New York: Bellevue Literary Press.
Stewart, K. 2007. Ordinary Affects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Jon Crispin’s Willard Suitcases site
Jon Crispin’s 2011 Kickstarter campaign
Jon Crispin’s 2014 Kickstarter campaign
The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project: working to document and commemorate those buried in Willard Cemetery
NY State Museum Exhibit “The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic”
The Inmates of Willard 1870–1900. A genealogy resource for Willard, by Lin Stuhler