Roycroft shops

DEFINITION

An arts and crafts oriented community founded by Elbert Hubbard, showman, entrepreneur, writer and promoter of the arts and crafts movement who settled in Aurora, New York in 1895. He began his business by writing and publishing pamphlets about historical figures. Shortly after, he established shops for the production of furniture, pottery, ironwork, leather goods and printed materials. Visitors flocked to the area to purchase many of the items, which reflect items characteristic of the arts and crafts aesthetic of being visually attractive, utilitarian, simple designs, and visible workmanship such as pegged joints. A community formed, and by 1910, over 500 persons were employed at the Shops. Hubbard hired talented, skilled overseers: Dard Hunter, printed books; Karl Kipp, copper goods; Frederic Kranz, leather; Louis Kinder, books; and James Cadzow and Albert Danner, furniture making. Hubbard and his wife died in 1915 in the sinking of the "Lusitania". The son, Elbert Hubbard II, continued the endeavor, which closed in 1938 because of lack of interest in arts and crafts items. In 1986, the community of Roycroft, with fourteen buildings and surrounding property, was designated a National Historic Landmark. The Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College in New York houses the major Roycroft collection, which provided the exhibition items for a spring, 2006 traveling exhibition. Source: Allison Eckardt Ledes, 'Roycroft', "The Magazine Antiques", February 2006, p. 18. (LPD)

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