On November 9, 2012, I received a beautiful gift from Doug and Jane Anderson at Port City Paranormal. They purchased the book Pictorial Album of The Willard Asylum 1869 – 1886 by Wayne E. Morrison, Sr., and sent it to me because they knew how much I would appreciate and enjoy such a rare piece of history. I cannot thank Doug and Jane enough for being so kind and thoughtful! I hope that one day I will be able to meet them!
According to The Ithaca Journal, published on April 10, 2012: “Ovid: Wayne E. Morrison, Sr., 79 of Ovid, died Friday, April 6, 2012 at his home. He was born in Fairport (NY) a son of the late Earl B. and Grace Yorks Morrison. Mr. Morrison was a printer and publisher for 65 years and was the owner and operator of W.E. Morrison & Co. in Ovid. He was a member of the Fairport and Galen Historical Societies, a former member of the Clyde Fire Dept. and was a past Member of the Ovid Baptist Church. …There was a quote that Mr. Morrison loved that was made by Marianne Nichols. ‘Wayne doesn’t live in the past but the past lives in him.’”
Mr. Morrison’s book is not numbered but is filled with 119 beautiful, historical photographs of The Willard Asylum (Willard State Hospital), the people who worked there, and historical information. He also recorded who took these wonderful photographs. I would like to share with you a few photographs from the first pages of his book. What follows are Mr. Morrison’s words:
“Year after year since 1869, the Willard Asylum has proved an incalculable blessing to thousands of the unfortunate of humanity in the State of New York – a refuge for the chronic insane and upon lands partially in the Towns of Ovid and Romulus, Seneca County, it was the first such institution established in the nation and has been the exemplar from which other states have formed like asylums.
The early photographs of Willard Asylum, published for the first time, are the work of Nelson S. Hopkins, whose brother, Dr. Horace G. Hopkins, was a Resident Officer of the Asylum at the time. The preponderance of his pictures were made in 1886, however some were taken a year earlier, and a few as late as 1892. Some are also credited to Anne Maycock Hopkins, the wife of Dr. Hopkins. They have been preserved by Dr. Robert E. Doran of Geneva, who has in his possession the Hopkins collection in its entirety – more than three hundred fine old pictures.
Excepted are the two views in 1869 on the main building in the process of erection taken by Mr. C.V.D. Cornell, photographers, of Waterloo. The front view was loaned by the Willard Asylum Museum, and the rear view by Michael F. Perry, of Ovid. – W.E. Morrison & Co., Ovid, N.Y.”
(Copyright 1978 Wayne E. Morrison, Sr.)