Elbert Hubbard, 1856 - 1915

portrait of Elbert Hubbard


Born: 19 June 1856, Bloomington, Illinois
Died: 7 May 1915, Eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland

After growing up in a hard-shell Baptist home at Hudson, Illinois, his first business venture was selling products from the Larkin Soap Company. He was an innovative salesman and moved to Rochester, New York, to work at headquarters, becoming a partner. At age 35, in 1892, he sold his stock and enrolled at Harvard. When told there that he couldn't write he quit and wrote three novels. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris, he established Roycroft, a community at East Aurora, New York. This started with his own private press, known for eccentric but handsome and well bound books on hand-made paper, and in 1895 brought others to the community to make furniture, ironwork, stained-glass windows, lamps, and jewelry. Hubbard's second wife, Alice, was a noted suffragist and the Roycroft community became a site for meetings and conventions of freethinkers, reformers, and suffragists. Hubbard was a popular lecturer and published his home-spun philosophy in two magazines. He wrote a series of 14 volumes of profiles of prominent people, Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great. As World War I approached, he set out as a completely-unauthorized ambassador to meet with Kaiser Wilhelm to avert war. He and Alice sailed for Europe on RMS Lusitania. Off the Irish coast, en route Liverpool, Unterseeboot 20 fired a torpedo into her bow and she went down in eighteen minutes.

Biography from Wikipedia and City Journal

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