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Love, Life & Work

But the children of his fertile brain still live and will continue to live and keep fresh the memory of their illustrious forebear. Fourteen years were consumed in the preparation of the work that ranks today as Elbert Hubbard's masterpiece.

In Eighteen Hundred Ninety-four, the series of Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great was begun, and once a month for fourteen years, without a break, one of these little pilgrimages was given to the world. These little gems have been accepted as classics and will live. In all there are one hundred eighty Little Journeys that take us to the homes of the men and women who transformed the thought of their time, changed the course of empire, and marked the destiny of civilization.

Through him, the ideas, the deeds, the achievements of these immortals have been given to the living present and will be sent echoing down the centuries. Hubbard's Little Journeys to the homes of these men and women have not been equaled since Plutarch wrote his forty-six parallel lives of the Greeks and Romans.

And these were given to the world before the first rosy dawn of modern civilization had risen to the horizon. Without dwelling upon their achievements, Plutarch, with a trifling incident, a simple word or an innocent jest, showed the virtues and failings of his subject.

As a result, no other books from classical literature have come down through the ages to us with so great an influence upon the lives of the leading men of the world.

Who can recount the innumerable biographies that begin thus: "In his youth, our subject had for his constant reading, Plutarch's Lives, etc. Emerson must have had in mind this silent, irresistible force that shaped the lives of the great men of these twenty centuries when he declared, "All history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons.

Plutarch lived in the time of Saint Paul, and wrote of the early Greeks and Romans. After two thousand years Hubbard appeared, to bridge the centuries from Athens, in the golden age of Pericles, to America, in the wondrous age of Edison.

With the magic wand of genius he touched the buried mummies of all time, and from each tomb gushed forth a geyser of inspiration. Hugh Chalmers once remarked that, if he were getting out a Blue Book of America, he would publish Elbert Hubbard's subscription-lists. Whether we accept this authoritative statement or not, there is no doubt that the pen of this immortal did more to stimulate the best minds of the country than any other American writer, living or dead.

Eminent writers study Hubbard for style, while at the same time thousands of the tired men and women who do the world's work read him for inspiration. Truly, this man wielded his pen like an archangel. Not only as a writer does this many-sided genius command our admiration, but in many chosen fields, in all of which he excelled.

As an institution, the Roycroft Shops would reflect credit upon the business acumen of the ablest men that America has produced in the field of achievement. The industry, it would seem, was launched to demonstrate the practicality of the high principles and philosophy preached by its founder, not only by the printed page, but from the platform.

Right here let it be noted that, as a public speaker, Hubbard appeared before more audiences than any other lecturer of his time who gave the platform his undivided attention. Where, one asks in amazement, did this remarkable man find the inspiration for carrying forward his great work?

It is no secret. It was drawn from his own little pilgrimages to the haunts of the great. Again like Plutarch, these miniature biographies were composed for the personal benefit of the writer. It was his own satisfaction and moral improvement that inspired the work. Following Hubbard's tragic death, the announcement was made from East Aurora that "The Philistine" Magazine would be discontinued—Hubbard had gone on a long journey and might need his "Philistine.

It was also a beautiful tribute to the father from the son. If he should cast a backward glance, he would nod his approval. If there is to be a memorial, certainly let it be a service to mankind. He would have us all tap the same source from which he drew his inspiration. I have been asked to write an article about myself and the work in which I am engaged.

I think I am honest enough to sink self, to stand outside my own personality, and answer the proposition. First, I am not popular in "Society," and those who champion my cause in my own town are plain, unpretentious people. Fourth, as an orator I am without the graces, and do scant justice to the double-breasted Prince Albert.

Fifth, the Roycroft Shop, to the welfare of which my life is dedicated, is not so large as to be conspicuous on account of size. Sixth, personally, I am no ten-thousand-dollar beauty: the glass of fashion and the mold of form are far from mine. In one obscure country village I have had something to do with stopping the mad desire on the part of the young people to get out of the country and flock to the cities. In this town and vicinity the tide has been turned from city to country.

We have made one country village an attractive place for growing youth by supplying congenial employment, opportunity for education and healthful recreation, and an outlook into the world of art and beauty. All boys and girls want to make things with their hands, and they want to make beautiful things, they want to "get along," and I've simply given them a chance to get along here, instead of seeking their fortunes in Buffalo, New York or Chicago. They have helped me and I have helped them; and through this mutual help we have made head, gained ground upon the whole.

By myself I could have done nothing, and if I have succeeded, it is simply because I have had the aid and co-operation of cheerful, willing, loyal and loving helpers. Even now as I am writing this in my cabin in the woods, four miles from the village, they are down there at the Shop, quietly, patiently, cheerfully doing my work—which work is also theirs. No man liveth unto himself alone: our interests are all bound up together, and there is no such thing as a man going off by himself and corraling the good.

When I came to this town there was not a house in the place that had a lavatory with hot and cold water attachments. Those who bathed, swam in the creek in the Summer or used the family wash tub in the kitchen in Winter.

My good old partner, Ali Baba, has always prided himself on his personal cleanliness He is arrayed in rags, but underneath, his hide is clean, and better still, his heart is right. Yet when he first became a member of my household, he was obliged to take his Saturday-night tub out in the orchard, from Spring until Autumn came with withered leaves. He used to make quite an ado in the kitchen, heating the water in the wash-boiler.

Six pails of cistern-water, a gourd of soft soap, and a gunny-sack for friction were required in the operation. Of course, the Baba waited until after dark before performing his ablutions. But finally his plans were more or less disturbed by certain rising youth, who timed his habits and awaited his disrobing with o'erripe tomatoes.

The bombardment, and the inability to pursue the enemy, turned the genial current of the Baba's life awry until I put a bathroom in my house, with a lock on the door. This bit of history I have mentioned for the dual purpose of shedding light on former bathing facilities in East Aurora, and more especially to show that once we had the hoodlum with us. Hoodlumism is born of idleness; it is useful energy gone to seed.

In small towns hoodlumism is rife, and the hoodlums are usually the children of the best citizens. Hoodlumism is the first step in the direction of crime. The hoodlum is very often a good boy who does not know what to do; and so he does the wrong thing. He bombards with tomatoes a good man taking a bath, puts ticktacks on windows, ties a tin can to the dog's tail, takes the burs off your carriage-wheels, steals your chickens, annexes your horse-blankets, and scares old ladies into fits by appearing at windows wrapped in a white sheet.

To wear a mask, walk in and demand the money in the family ginger-jar is the next and natural evolution. To a great degree the Roycroft Shop has done away with hoodlumism in this village, and a stranger wearing a silk hat, or an artist with a white umbrella, is now quite safe upon our streets.

Very naturally, the Oldest Inhabitant will deny what I have said about East Aurora—he will tell you that the order, cleanliness and beauty of the place have always existed. The change has come about so naturally, and so entirely without his assistance, that he knows nothing about it. Truth when first presented is always denied, but later there comes a stage when the man says, "I always believed it.

However, the truth remains that I introduced the first heating-furnace into the town; bought the first lawn-mower; was among the first to use electricity for lights and natural gas for fuel; and so far, am the only one in town to use natural gas for power. Until the starting of the Roycroft Shop, there were no industries here, aside from the regulation country store, grocery, tavern, blacksmith-shop and sawmill—none of which enterprises attempted to supply more than local wants.

There was Hamlin's stock-farm, devoted to raising trotting-horses, that gave employment to some of the boys; but for the girls there was nothing.

They got married at the first chance; some became "hired girls," or, if they had ambitions, fixed their hearts on the Buffalo Normal School, raised turkeys, picked berries, and turned every honest penny towards the desire to get an education so as to become teachers. Comparatively, this class was small in number. Most of the others simply followed that undefined desire to get away out of the dull, monotonous, gossiping village; and so, craving excitement, they went away to the cities, and the cities swallowed them.

A wise man has said that God made the country, man the city, and the devil the small towns. The country supplies the city its best and its worst. We hear of the few who succeed, but of the many who are lost in the maelstrom we know nothing.

Sometimes in country homes it is even forbidden to mention certain names. And so, to swing back to the place of beginning, I think the chief reason many good folks are interested in the Roycroft Shop is because here country boys and girls are given work at which they not only earn their living, but can get an education while doing it. Next to this is the natural curiosity to know how a large and successful business can be built up in a plain, humdrum village by simply using the talent and materials that are at hand, and so I am going to tell now how the Roycroft Shop came to start; a little about what it has done; what it is trying to do; and what it hopes to become.

And since modesty is only egotism turned wrong side out, I will make no special endeavor to conceal the fact that I have had something to do with the venture. In choosing the name "Roycroft" for our Shop we had these men in mind, but beyond this the word has a special significance, meaning King's Craft—King's craftsmen being a term used in the Guilds of the olden times for men who had achieved a high degree of skill—men who made things for the King.

So a Roycrofter is a person who makes beautiful things, and makes them as well as he can. It is a corporation, and the shares are distributed among the workers. No shares are held by any one but Roycrofters, and it is agreed that any worker who quits the Shop shall sell his shares back to the concern.

This co-operative plan, it has been found, begets a high degree of personal diligence, a loyalty to the institution, a sentiment of fraternity and a feeling of permanency among the workers that is very beneficial to all concerned.

Each worker, even the most humble, calls it "Our Shop," and feels that he is an integral and necessary part of the Whole.

Possibly there are a few who consider themselves more than necessary. Ali Baba, for instance, it is said, has referred to himself, at times, as the Whole Thing. And this is all right, too—I would never chide an excess of zeal: the pride of a worker in his worth and work is a thing to foster.

It's the man who "doesn't give a damn" who is really troublesome. The artistic big-head is not half so bad as apathy. In the month of December, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-four, I printed the first "Little Journeys" in booklet form, at the local printing-office, having become discouraged in trying to find a publisher.

But before offering the publication to the public, I decided to lay the matter again before G. Putnam's Sons, although they had declined the matter in manuscript form. George H. Putnam rather liked the matter, and was induced to issue the periodical as a venture for one year. The scheme seemed to meet with success, the novel form of the publication being in its favor.

The subscription reached nearly a thousand in six months; the newspapers were kind, and the success of the plan suggested printing a pamphlet modeled on similar lines, telling what we thought about things in general, and publishers and magazine-editors in particular. There was no intention at first of issuing more than one number of this pamphlet, but to get it through the mails at magazine rates we made up a little subscription list and asked that it be entered at the post office at East Aurora as second-class matter.

Love, Life, And Work

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Love, Life and Work

Law Library Julius J. Benjamin Rush. The Roycroft press served as an outlet for Hubbard's writing and those of many 1. Hubbard, Elbert. Quantity Available: 1.

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Little Journeys To the Homes of the Great

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Little Journeys To the Homes of the Great

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