Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Is The World All Wrong? Reform Yourself!

Over the weekend, I went spelunking around my boxed-up library. Wasn't looking for anything in particular, really - just wanted to get back in touch with some old friends. During my explorations, I happened upon something I thought to be long-gone: my Roycrofters Motto Book.

Elbert Hubbard's epigrams are pithy gems which never cease to bring a smile and a little nod in agreement from the reader. I can very well see how he'd be able to convince those he did to move on out to Western New York state to start the collaboration that would later be known as the Roycrofters.

Maybe it's time to start sharing some of these mottoes again. I think I'll start with this one:

-Dard Hunter design, in case anyone was interested.


Anonymous said...

And at about the same time I found my copy of the Elbert Hubbard scrapbook, which is a similarly well-crafted tome but with quotes from all sorts of people. One could do a "Quote for the day" post from now till blogging is supplanted by something else without using it up.

When I was but a youngster my parents took me to the Roycroft. I was not impressed at the time but am pleased to have a vague memory of it.

Be said...

What was formerly the campus isn't very interesting, as the owner of the trademark is the owner of the giftshop - no cohesion, more into making money. The historic site's kind of neat, though, as is the Inn.

Having grown up in Buffalo, I totally took for granted a lot of what's considered revolutionary design: my grandma's house had an actual Dard Hunter window. The Roycroft editions were strewn about the place, as well. An aunt was neighbor for a while to one of the Wright-designed houses (throw a stick, you're going to hit 2-3 of em out in that neck of the woods.) Heck, to take it even further: all the females on my dad's side of the family worked at the Larkin Soap Company at one point or another. Talk about legendary business ventures! Anyway, it took moving away for me to realize how much is actually there and how much I do miss it. Finding my maxim book kind of hit the heart in a weird way, made me feel a bit homesick.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I know nothing of this -- please continue.

Be said...

Western New York state is a very odd place - was the birthplace of several charismatic Christian faiths and an important center for commerce, arts, philosophy. The Women's Suffrage movement had its beginnings there. When I use the term 'progressive' to define myself/most stuff, I'm not using the Cambridge/Berkeley/Manhattan definition - I'm talking about places with people who actually get stuff done.

Elbert Hubbard was an ad-man from Ohio, and work led him to East Aurora. He was strongly moved by William Morris's movement (pro cottage-industry artisanship, anti-industrialism) and the Vienna Secession. Started the Roycroft Atelier in the early 20th century. His second wife was very intensely involved in the Women's Suffrage movement. The Scandinavian side of my family identified much with them (they had settled in the same neck of the woods as the atelier) and became avid followers. As a result, we've a fair bit of the Roycrofters' artifacts, as well as some important firsts in my family: one aunt was both the first female driver/car owner in Buffalo, as well as the first Accountant hired by the municipality. The other - a master's in education (one of her professors said to her that she should be 'at home taking care of her children.' She showed them).

A bit stream of consciousness, and maybe I'll post more on this stuff later. Sorry for that.