“There were many patients in these asylums who were probably not unlike friends you and I have now.”
Time capsules in the form of forgotten suitcases from the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane in New York State from 1910 to 1960, photographed by Jon Crispin. The mysteries therein illustrate the neglected and essentially denied humanity of many of that era’s (and sadly this era’s) mentally ill. Of course, in the early, mid and even late 20th century, you could be deemed mentally ill if you were gay, politically dissident, a midwife, an herbalist, or just unusual — and who isn’t at least one of those things? For now, their identities are concealed by the state even from living relatives, but we have bobbins and photobooth pictures and guns and pills and bells to which to listen carefully.
You can see more photos and stories about patients at Collector’s Weekly. The full collection is preserved in the New York State Museum's permanent collection, and is currently on view at San Francisco’s Exploratorium through April 2014, in an installation that explores the ‘changing face of normal.’

“There were many patients in these asylums who were probably not unlike friends you and I have now.”

Time capsules in the form of forgotten suitcases from the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane in New York State from 1910 to 1960, photographed by Jon Crispin. The mysteries therein illustrate the neglected and essentially denied humanity of many of that era’s (and sadly this era’s) mentally ill. Of course, in the early, mid and even late 20th century, you could be deemed mentally ill if you were gay, politically dissident, a midwife, an herbalist, or just unusual — and who isn’t at least one of those things? For now, their identities are concealed by the state even from living relatives, but we have bobbins and photobooth pictures and guns and pills and bells to which to listen carefully.

You can see more photos and stories about patients at Collector’s Weekly. The full collection is preserved in the New York State Museum's permanent collection, and is currently on view at San Francisco’s Exploratorium through April 2014, in an installation that explores the ‘changing face of normal.’


You can’t overestimate how exciting it was to be openly gay in San Francisco in the 1970s. I mean, Stonewall had happened in 1969, gay civil rights legislation was passing in different states, and, you know, for the first time you could love openly and not be considered sick, not be arrested. It was a very exciting, heady time…
Alysia Abbott writes about growing up with her gay dad in SF in the 70s in her new book Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. As a millenium of civil rights struggles whirs into action before our very eyes — nascent advances are made, fundamental victories are threatened — it’s good to take a close look at those who brought us this far by demanding the right to be themselves.

You can’t overestimate how exciting it was to be openly gay in San Francisco in the 1970s. I mean, Stonewall had happened in 1969, gay civil rights legislation was passing in different states, and, you know, for the first time you could love openly and not be considered sick, not be arrested. It was a very exciting, heady time…

Alysia Abbott writes about growing up with her gay dad in SF in the 70s in her new book Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. As a millenium of civil rights struggles whirs into action before our very eyes — nascent advances are made, fundamental victories are threatened — it’s good to take a close look at those who brought us this far by demanding the right to be themselves.

Fairyland Memoir

Fairyland Memoir


The new video for Junior’s Throwin Craze by Woolfy. Out on Public Release Recordings, a record label started by our good friend and Renaissance Man Eug.


Powered by Tumblr