It’s time to clean out the office in anticipation of a productive and prosperous 2008. Here are a few items of interest for your consideration.
Are you familiar with the Willard Suitcase Project? This fascinating project began when the Willard Psychiatric Center in New York was closed in 1995 after 126 years. Left behind in a pigeon-infested attic were nearly 400 suitcases, dusty testaments to long-forgotten former residents of the facility that began as the Willard Asylum in 1869.
In the years since, researchers have examined the contents of the suitcases and have pieced together the stories of their faceless owners. The result is a traveling public exhibit, “The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic,” which will be at the New York City Public Library through Jan. 31. A book by the same title will be available in January.
People do the darnedest things to their data. To learn about the guy who sprayed his hard drive with insect repellant or the woman who took her flash drive for a tumble with her laundry, check this out.
Hopefully this won’t happen to you, but some people have taken to selling family heirlooms to pay off their medical bills. Descendants of abolitionist John Brown found themselves in this predicament recently.
Many newspapers charge for obituaries these days. That’s the downside; the upside is that you have more control over what you can say since it’s essentially a paid ad. But, if you want to avoid bad word choices, like “gone to live with the angles,” or factual errors such as “Grandma was a descendant of [the childless] George and Martha Washington,” you might want to hire a pro. Here’s an article on the perils of paid obituaries.
Oh, to be a farmer. Chris over at The Genealogue reports that a study by Drs. Leonid and Natalia Gavrilova of Chicago shows that trim farmers with more than three children were more likely to live to see 100 than overweight city boys without kids. In fact, living on a farm "more than doubled a man's odds of living into the triple digits."