I recently finished reading a fascinating book a fellow Soomoan recommended to me, called The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic . In 1995, after the Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate New York closed, more than 400 suitcases belonging to former patients were discovered in the attic. The authors spent a decade researching just 10 of these patients and chronicled what they could of their lives.
The accompanying museum exhibit has a Flash website with a brief bio of the patients and the Facebook page includes historic photos as well as color images from the book's photographer, Lisa Rinzler. The most heartbreaking, to me, of the patients is Herman, a man who developed a love for photography at a colony for epileptics but was transferred to Willard and disallowed access to his cameras for his remaining 35 years.