Time Capsules

As even I am weary of the college football coaching carousel, I wanted to completely change it up. Check out this series of photographs from Jon Crispin. When New York shut down the Willard Psychiatric Center, they discovered an attic full of suitcases belonging to patients arriving at the center (this being the early part of the 20th century, the overwhelming majority of patients to a psychiatric hospital stayed for decades; nearly half that were admitted eventually died there). The New York State Museum featured these suitcases as an exhibit, and now Crispin is photographing them independently (happily, his Kickstarter project has hit its funding benchmark).

On the one hand, it’s interesting because I love old things. You know those displays at museums where they just throw a bunch of trinkets and consumer goods in a window and call it “A Day in the Life: the 1920s” or something? I get totally absorbed in those. So pictures like this pique my interest:


On the other hand, it’s kind of heartbreaking to see the wide spectrum of what these people brought to the hospital. This was a time when we locked up the mentally ill and more or less threw away the key. Some patients brought as much as they could carry:


Others brought what you might take with you if you were going on a week’s vacation:


Did they know what was ahead of them? Obviously, some of the patients were likely suffering from conditions that kept them from truly grasping their surroundings, but even a quick look through the small number of suitcase owners featured in the New York exhibit shows that epileptics, alcoholics, people who adamantly insisted upon their release and the like often found themselves with sometimes life sentences to this facility.

H/T to The Agitator. I usually find a supremely interesting corner of the internet at least once a week in Radley Balko’s “Links” posts.


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