Roycroft

Roycroft was the name given to a reformist community of crafters and artisans founded by Elbert Hubbard (pictured) in East Aurora, New York in 1894. The Roycrofters, as members of the community were called, consisted of some of the most skilled bookbinders, furniture makers and metal workers of the American Arts & Crafts Movement, including Karl Kipp, Frederick Kranz and William Wallace Denslow.

Elbert Hubbard was a successful salesman and part owner of Buffalo, NY-based Larkin Soap Company. Although the company had made him quite wealthy, Hubbard eventually lost interest in the soap industry, sold his share in the company and retired to East Aurora.

A man of many interests, Hubbard became infatuated with the polymathic ideals of the British Arts & Crafts movement and traveled to England to meet the pioneer of the movement, William Morris. Rebelling against the dehumanizing effects of the industrial age, Arts & Crafts designers like Morris championed handcraftsmanship and the integration of the arts in a decorative environment. Hubbard was so inspired by his visit that upon his return to East Aurora he founded a private printing shop to publish a magazine he dubbed The Philistine, which extolled the virtues of Arts & Crafts ideals. The Philistine became wildly popular, leading to the establishment of a nearby book bindery. A leather shop, metalsmith and furniture shop soon followed, each one bringing still more artisans and their families into the folds of the growing Roycroft community.