Elbert Green Hubbard black and white picture
Elbert Green Hubbard black and white picture

Elbert Green Hubbard (1856 – 1915) was an American furniture designer. Hubbard met William Morris in 1894 and the following year inspired by Morris’s Kelmscott Press, founded the Roycroft Press’ East Aurora, near Buffalo, New York. He was the founder of the Roycrofters, an Arts and Crafts community; he organized workshops, lectured, and wrote as a highly effective champion of the Arts and Crafts philosophy.

Religious Beliefs

Hubbard identified as a socialist and anarchist. He was an advocate for social, economic, domestic, political, mental, and spiritual liberty. In A Message to Garcia and Thirteen Other Things (1901), Hubbard explained his Credo by writing “I believe John Ruskin, William Morris, Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Leo Tolstoy to be Prophets of God, and they should rank in mental reach and spiritual insight with Elijah, Hosea, Ezekiel and Isaiah.” Nonetheless, with his pro-business and anti-union sentiments, frequent themes across his works suggest he had strong capitalist sentiments.

In the booklet Jesus Was An Anarchist, Hubbard addressed a critique of war, law, and government (1910). Ernest Howard Crosby called Hubbard’s piece “the best thing Elbert ever wrote” when it was first published as The Better Part in A Message to Garcia and Thirteen Other Things.

“Do not take life too seriously; you will never get out of it alive.”

Elbert Hubbard

Roycroft community

In 1894, Hubbard began his quest to become an American counterpart to William Morris. Hubbard purchased a property in the centre of the rural town of East Aurora, a few kilometres east of Buffalo, New York and created Roycroft. There were more than 400 people in the utopian Roycroft community, based on the British Arts and Crafts movement, but with a commercial slant of its own.

There are two theories on his name choice. The word “roycroft” comes from the French words for craft and “roi’ of king. Literally, it would refer to royal artisans whose handiwork was fit for a King. Other historians believe Hubbard chose the name to honour 17th century printers Samuel and Thomas Roycroft. The fact that his first endeavour was publishing supports this theory.

The Roycrofters operated a restaurant which served the-many tourists who discovered its activities through its publications (Little Journey’s pamphlets, The Philistine monthly journal, and mail-order catalogues advertising gift items and souvenirs). His son Elbert Hubbard Jr. became director of the Roycrofters until the community closed in 1938.

Antique embossed 3-piece mixed products
Antique embossed 3-piece mixed products
Mahogany Cellarette made at Roycroft
Mahogany Cellarette made at Roycroft

Death

The Hubbards boarded the RMS Lusitania in New York City a little more than three years after the Titanic sank. The ship was torpedoed and sunk by the German U-boat U-20 on May 7, 1915, while at sea 11 miles (18 kilometres) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, April 13). Elbert Hubbard. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:19, May 28, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Elbert_Hubbard&oldid=1017643362

More American Designers

  • Black Landscapes Matter (paperback)

    Black Landscapes Matter (paperback)

    “Do black landscapes matter?” is an issue that goes to the heart of American history. The nation’s terrain contains the wreckage of different origins, from slavery’s plantations to today’s divided cities, from freedman settlements to northern migrations for freedom.Read More →

  • Maya Lin (b.1959) an American architect and designer

    Maya Lin (b.1959) an American architect and designer

    Embed from Getty Images Maya Lin is an American architect. She was born in Athens,Read More →

  • Michael Taylor (1927 – 1986) – “California Look” ๐ŸŒž

    Michael Taylor (1927 – 1986) – “California Look” ๐ŸŒž

    Michael Taylor (1927 – 1986) was an American interior and furniture designer. He was known for the “California Style” and made his homes showplaces of the unexpected.Read More →

  • Virgil Exner (1909 – 1973) American Industrial Designer

    Virgil Exner (1909 – 1973) American Industrial Designer

    He was hired to work in the Pontiac design lab after coming to the attention of Harley Earl at General Motors. Later, in 1938, he worked for Raymond Loewy’s design consultant on Studebaker cars, particularly the 1947 Starlight coupรฉ. Loewy received the majority of the critical accolades.ย Read More →

  • Maya Romanoff (1941 – 2014), American textile designer

    Maya Romanoff (1941 – 2014), American textile designer

    Maya Romanoff (1941- 2014) was an American Textile Designer. He studied at the University ofRead More →

  • Walter Kantack (1889 – 1953) – American Lighting Designer

    Walter Kantack (1889 – 1953) – American Lighting Designer

    Walter Kantack was an American Lighting Designer born in Meriden, Connecticut. He completed his studies at the Pratt Institute in New York.Read More →

  • Henry Varnum Poor (1887 – 1970) American Designer & Artist

    Henry Varnum Poor (1887 – 1970) American Designer & Artist

    Henry Varnum Poor (1887-1970) was an American architect, painter, sculptor, muralist, potter, and architect. He was the grandnephew of Henry Varnmum Poor, a founding member of the company that became Standard & Poor’s.Read More →

  • Mission Furniture – Design Dictionary Term

    Mission Furniture – Design Dictionary Term

    The term mission furniture was first popularized by Joseph P. McHugh of New York, a furniture manufacturer and retailer. The word mission references the Spanish missions throughout colonial California. The style became increasingly popular following the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.Read More →

  • Dan Friedman (1945 – 1995) American Graphic Designer

    Dan Friedman (1945 – 1995) American Graphic Designer

    Dan Friedman (1945โ€“1995) was a prolific graphic and furniture designer, artist, writer, and educator. Friedman’s work posed a radical challenge to tradition and commodification in design practice. His work is held in the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.Read More →

  • Charles Pfister (1938 – 1990) was an American interior and furniture designer

    Charles Pfister (1938 – 1990) was an American interior and furniture designer

    Charles Pfister (1939 to 1990) was an American interior and furniture designer and architect. He was professionally active in San Francisco.Read More →

  • Handel Company (1885 – 1936) American Lighting Company

    Handel Company (1885 – 1936) American Lighting Company

    American Lighting firm The Handel Company was founded in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1885 and created lamps and glass designs over the years. The business was incorporatedย in 1903.Read More →

  • Sam Maloof (1916 – 2009) American furniture designer and maker

    Sam Maloof (1916 – 2009) American furniture designer and maker

    His work is part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston MFA and Philadelphia MFA. The ‘Rocking Chair’ became part of Ronald Reagan’s White House arts and crafts collection. Maloof built an approach to woodworking that drew parallels to Shaker and modern Scandinavian styles. Using no nails or metal hardware, he worked almost entirely by hand. One of his rocking chairs sold for $51,000; he married Alfreda Ward in 1948.Read More →

  • Judith Leiber  (1921 – 2018) American designer of handbags

    Judith Leiber (1921 – 2018) American designer of handbags

    Judith Leiber (1921 – 2018) was a prolific designer whose fanciful minaudiรจres had accessorised royalties, first ladies, and film stars, and entered the collections of art the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While her couture handbagsโ€”carried by celebrities such as Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Claudette Colbert, Bjรถrk, and Barbara Waltersโ€”are widely regarded as works of art, Leiber preferred the word “artisan” to “artist.”Read More →

  • Francis H. Bacon (1856 – 1940) American Furniture Designer

    Francis H. Bacon (1856 – 1940) American Furniture Designer

    He was a designer for furniture maker Herter Brothers, commissioned by the company to furnish the New York William H. Vanderbilt House, 1881-83.Read More →

  • John Mascheroni (1932- ) American furniture and industrial designer

    John Mascheroni (1932- ) American furniture and industrial designer

    John Mascheroni is an American furniture and industrial designer. He studied at the Pratt Insitute in Brooklyn New York. He opened his own design office and furniture factory in New York. Mascheroni designed furniture for manufactures in High Point, North Carolina. From 1990, his furniture designs were produced by Swaim and, from 1991, others by Jeffco.Read More →

  • Paul Bacon (1923 – 2015) – created looks for books

    Paul Bacon (1923 – 2015) – created looks for books

    Paul Bacon was not a household name, but anyone who has a passion for books will have seen his works. Bacon was an artist, who used minimal imagery and bold typography to sell famous novels such as, “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest’s and Phillip Roth’s “Portnoy’s complaint?Read More →

  • Reuben Cary (1845 – 1933) American furniture designer

    Reuben Cary (1845 – 1933) American furniture designer

    Cary’s father moved to the Adirondacks area of New York State in the year 1845. In 1874, Brandreth asked Cary to make him 24 chairs with slatted backs, plain turned legs, and splint seats in a traditional style. Cary may have made some of the rustic furniture in the cottages at Brandreth Park.Read More →

  • James Evanson (1946 – 2022) American furniture and lighting designer

    James Evanson (1946 – 2022) American furniture and lighting designer

    James Evanson has been at the forefront of the “functional art” movement around the world. His work has travelled worldwide since his first exhibition in 1979 at the Art et Industrie Gallery in New York. For the Memphis Collection in Milan, new work was created just for the occasion. The “Lighthouse” lamps gained international acclaim and became an icon of the 1980s.Read More →

  • Harry Bertoia (1915 – 1978) Italian sculptor, furniture designer

    Harry Bertoia (1915 – 1978) Italian sculptor, furniture designer

    Harry Bertoia was a sculptor, printmaker, jeweller, and furniture designer. He was born in San Lorenzo, Udine, and worked in the United States professionally. During World War Two he worked with Ray and Charles Eames on moulded-plywood technology. He worked primarily as a sculptor from the mid-1950s onwards. His sculpture was prominently featured in many of Eero Saarinen’s buildings.Read More →

  • Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) American jewellery designer and silversmith

    Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) American jewellery designer and silversmith

    Alma Eikerman (1908 – 1995) was an American jewellery designer and silversmith. Eikerman was born in Pratt, Kansas, and graduated from Kansas State College in Emporia with a B.Sc. in 1934 and an M.Sc. in 1942.ย Read More →

You may also be interested in

William Morris – beauty of practicality – Encyclopedia of Design

Born March 24, 1834 “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful.” That was the rallying call of the nineteenth-century designer, William Morris, a British designer and social reformer. He aimed to rid the world of shoddy mass-produced goods and replace them with objects that were designed and made by artists.

A short history of wallpaper – Encyclopedia of Design

Before 1840, nearly all the world’s wallpaper came from France, where it was hand-printed, using blocks and sheets of paper to produce a limited line of patterns. Making wallpaper by hand was a costly process, and only the very wealthy could afford to buy it.

Dakota Jackson American furniture designer – Encyclopedia of Design

Dakota Jackson is an American furniture designer best known for his Dakota Jackson furniture line. He was a magician’s son, and by the time he was six, he became a professional magician. He performed in public until his early 20s.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.