Elbert Hubbard 1856-1915

Born Bloomington, Illinois


Elbert Hubbard purchased the struggling Roycroft Printing Shop in East Aurora, New York, in 1895 and built it into one of the centers of the arts and crafts movement in America. Modeling his enterprise after William Morris’s Kelmscott Press in England, he attracted craftsmen by paying them well and leaving them alone to pursue their ideas. Workers were never admonished for wasting money. The Fra, as Hubbard was called by his followers, saw wasting time as the greater sin. Under his direction, the Roycroft Press became a leader in the publication of small designer books and specialty magazines. Hubbard was also an influential author, and his essays about art and labor made him a national celebrity. Ben-Yusuf photographed him in New York at the outset of a lecture tour being orchestrated by James Burton Pond.

Platinum print, c. 1900
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress