Date range: 1887-1965
Location: D.77
Size: 4 boxes, 1 package


Elbert Hubbard was born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1856, the second son and third child of Silas Hubbard, a doctor. He was educated in the district school, and at the age of 16 began selling soap for his cousin Justus Weller. In 1875 Weller split the business with his partner John Larkin, and Hubbard followed Larkin to Buffalo, where he became the junior partner in the Larkin Soap Company and was responsible for introducing the system of credit and premiums used to sell products. He married Bertha Crawford in 1881, and they had 3 sons and 1 daughter. In 1884 the Hubbard family moved to East Aurora, New York. Hubbard was very successful in business, but in 1892 he decided to leave Larkin in order to write novels. He had published his first novel in 1891, which was followed by three others in 1893 and 1894. The following year he attended Harvard University as a special student for a term, then in 1894 went to England for the summer.

In England he met William Morris and was impressed by Kelmscott printing and by Morris' ideas on design. Upon his return he wrote a series of "Little Journeys" based on places he had visited during his English trip. These were published by Putnam, at the rate of one per month. In June 1895 Hubbard began to publish "The Philistine," which was issued monthly until his death in 1915. At the same time, Hubbard began to print a book, The Song of Songs, in his barn, on a handpress. By the end of 1895 he owned a print shop, where for the next 20 years he produced "The Philistine," the series of 15 "Little Journeys," and about 30 individual books. The Roycroft venture expanded rapidly into a semi-communal business with an inn for paying guests, a large force of employees, and a line of products that included handcrafts, furniture, gifts and candy. A Roycrofter's Annual Convention was held every summer.

In 1899 he published in "The Philistine" the essay which became his best known, "A Message to Garcia," and which doubled the circulation of his periodicals. Hubbard became a public figure, and began to make lecture appearances, speaking about the Roycroft Community.

About 1889 Hubbard had met Alice Moore, an East Aurora school teacher. Their daughter Miriam was born in 1894, and in 1901 Bertha Hubbard obtained a divorce. Alice Moore and Elbert Hubbard were married in 1904, and thereafter Alice Hubbard was a partner in managing the Roycroft enterprises.

In 1908 Hubbard began to publish "The Fra," which was a large format monthly magazine with a roster of contributors and regular commercial advertising pages. At about this time he became more and more identified with large business interests in his writings, and the last series of "Little Journeys" was to the Homes of Great Business Men.

Elbert and Alice Hubbard were lost on board the Lusitania, May 1915. After their deaths, Elbert Hubbard II carried on the Roycroft enterprise until the Depression. The shops were sold in 1938. Elbert Hubbard II died in 1970.

The collection consists of correspondence, manuscript essays by and about Elbert Hubbard, printed ephemera relating to Roycroft enterprises and photographs and engravings of the Hubbards, Roycroft personalities, and the subjects of "Little Journeys." The correspondence is in four series. The first consists of letters from Elbert Hubbard, Alice Hubbard and Elbert Hubbard II to various people. The second series consists of 85 letters from Lyman Chandler, who was Hubbard's secretary, to Miss Florence Irvine. The letters concern events at Roycroft, visitors and residents, as well as Hubbard himself. The third series consists of 145 letters exchanged between the Hubbards and William Morris Delsher of Reading, Pennsylvania. Delsher was an insurance agent who admired Hubbard. He arranged two speaking engagements in Reading for him. The final series consists of correspondence between George Ferrell of Liberty, Missouri, a Hubbard collector and admirer, and Elbert Hubbard II, from 1962 to 1965.

Gift of Robert L. Volz, June 1977.
Purchased from The Rendells, May 19, 1978, NEH Fund.
Postcards purchased at Swann Auction, April 29, 1993, Bowerman Fund.



Contents: Box 1: Correspondence, 1895-1942




  1. Hubbard Correspondence, 1895-1898
  2. Hubbard Correspondence, 1899-1915
  3. Hubbard Correspondence, 1916-1968
  4. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, January-April 1900
  5. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, May-June 1900
  6. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, July-August 1900
  7. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, September-December 1900
  8. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, January-February 1901
  9. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, March 1901
  10. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, April-May 1901
  11. Lyman Chandler Correspondence, June-October 1901
  12. Deisher-Hubbard Correspondence, 1902-1909
  13. Deisher-Hubbard Correspondence, 1910-1911
  14. Deisher-Hubbard Correspondence, January-March 1912
  15. Deisher-Hubbard Correspondence, April-December 1912
  16. Deisher-Hubbard Correspondence, 1913-1914
  17. Deisher-Hubbard Correspondence, 1915-1942

Box 2: Correspondence, 1962-1965; Manuscripts and Essays





  1. George Ferrele Correspondence, 1962
  2. George Ferrel Correspondence, January-May 1963
  3. George Ferrel Correspondence, June-September, 1963
  4. George Ferrel Correspondence, October-December 1963
  5. George Ferrel Correspondence, January-March 1964
  6. George Ferrel Correspondence, April-July 1964
  7. George Ferrel Correspondence, August-December 1964
  8. George Ferrel Correspondence, 1965

Manuscripts written by Elbert Hubbard:





  1. The Roycrofter's Dictionary
  2. Life in abundance, 8 p.
  3. [California and John Brown], 22 p.
  4. [Canned life], 15 p.
  5. [College Freshmen], 1 p.
  6. [The flight of time], 1 p.
  7. Help yourself by helping the house, 13 p.
  8. A little journey to the home of Charles Henry Fox, 1 p.
  9. Marshall P. Wilder impersonating Fra Elbertus in Vaudeville, 1 p.
  10. A message to printers, 14 p.
  11. [Rosamund Tales by Cuyler Reynolds], 1 p.
  12. Rustic Hickory, An appreciation, 20 p.
  13. Proofs of articles

Manuscript Essays by others about E. Hubbard and Roycroft:





  1. May A. Philo, A little journey to Sun Up - the home of Elbert Hubbard
  2. A little journey to the home of little journeys
  3. Glen Buck, [Hubbard and Shakespeare]
  4. George Ferrel, [Elbert Hubbard of East Aurora]
  5. Robert L. Volz, Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters: makers of fine books

Miscellaneous related material:





  1. Carl Ahrons, She of the golden eyes
  2. Wilet Hubbard, Birthday sentiment book, June 7, 1910
  3. Elbert Hubbard's phrenological chart, 1874
  4. All Baba testimonial, July 22, 1923
  5. Terse but worse verse [to A. Fournier]

Box 3: Printed ephemera





  1. Books and periodicals
  2. Miscellaneous
  3. Book design, Illumination
  4. Book design, samples of French marbled papers
  5. Christmas cards
  6. Small mottoes
  7. Medium and large mottoes
  8. Roycroft foods
  9. Lecture notices
  10. American Academy of Immortals
  11. Roycroft Fraternity
  12. Programs, Roycroft events
  13. Roycroft stock certificate
  14. Memorial programs for Elbert and Alice Hubbard
  15. Elbert Hubbard birthday celebration, June 19-20, 1930
  16. Roycroft Health Home
  17. Roycroft Inn
  18. Roycroft Inn, post 1915
  19. Newspaper clippings about Elbert Hubbard
  20. Larkin Soap Co., Buffalo, Premium list 1887
  21. Roycroft Annual Convention, Programs 1917-1922
  22. Promotional literature, post 1915 - Books
  23. Promotional literature, post 1915 - Handcrafts
  24. Elbert Hubbard Library-Museum, East Aurora, N.Y.
  25. Elbert Hubbard II

Box 4: Photographs and engravings





  1. Ali Baba (Anson Blackman)
  2. C. H. Kinabury album, presented to Anson Blackman, 1916. Pictures of Hubbards, Roycrofters, Dard Hunter's paper mill
  3. Bookbinding
  4. Buildings and views
  5. Alice Hubbard
  6. Elbert Hubbard, snapshots
  7. Elbert Hubbard, portrait engravings
  8. Elbert Hubbard, portrait photo gravures
  9. Elbert Hubbard, portrait photographs
  10. Elbert Hubbard, watermark portrait
  11. Elbert Hubbard II and family
  12. Engraved portraits for Little Journeys, A-M
  13. Engraved portraits for Little Journeys, N-Z
  14. Postcards
  15. Pictures of Roycrofters






  • 25 large illuminated mottoes
  • Poster for Elbert Hubbard lecture, Turn Hall, Rochester, N.Y., May 3, 1908
  • Poster for Hubbard-Roycroft Show at Rochester Institue of Technology, May 17-23, [1967]


Bound Volume:





  • Elbert Hubbard to Walter L. Brown, June 5, 1900
  • Elbert Hubbard. "A message to Garcia."
  • Photograph reproduction mounted on handmade paper and bound in full leather, tooled in gold and brown, in paper and buckled box.



"[California and John Brown]", 22p. on 22 leaves. Holograph manuscript, extensively revised. About 370 lines, 1400 words. Observations on Riverside agriculture as developed by Chase of Monroe County, N.Y. State, on people in Pasadena, and on John Brown, whose daughter, Ruth Thompson, lived in the area and attended Hubbard's lecture.

"[Canned Life]", 15p. on 15 leaves. Holograph manuscript, extensively revised. About 240 lines, 1000 words. Published in The Philistine, Vol. 12, No. 5, April 1901, p. 129-134, in the regular feature, "Heart to Heart Talks with Philistines by the Pastor of His Flock."

"[College Freshmen]", 1p. on 1 leaf. Typed manuscript, with extensive holograph additions. 23 lines, 90 words. One page only from a longer manuscript on moral dangers to college freshmen.

"[The Flight of Time]", 1p. on 1 leaf. Holograph manuscript, with one revision. 6 lines, 22 words. "Orators, people asleep, dead ones, and women in the toilet of a Pullman car know nothing of the flight of time."

"Help Yourself by Helping the House", 13p. on 13 leaves, with extra title leaf. Typed manuscript, signed by Hubbard at end. 210 lines, 1000 words. Probably a retained carbon. Published as a pamphlet in 1917, in the New York American, and in Vol. 1 of Selected Writings in 1927. First published in The Philistine, Vol. 25, No. 4, September 1907.

"Marshall P. Wilder Impersonating Fra Elbertus in Vaudeville", 1p. on 1 leaf. Clipped magazine photograph of Wilder in his impersonation, pasted to larger sheet, with Hubbard's manuscript caption in ink.

"A Little Journey to the Home of Charles Henry Fox", 1p. on 1 leaf. Typed manuscript, with extensive holograph additions. 29 lines, 150 words. One page only from a longer manuscript on the Fox floral business, undoubtedly one of Hubbard's advertising Little Journeys.

"A Message to Printers", 14p. on 14 leaves, with extra title leaf. Typed manuscript, with some holograph revisions. 282 lines, 1400 words. Accompanied with a 1-page note on Hubbard's writing method, by his son, Elbert Hubbard II.

"[Rosamond Tales, by Cuyler Reynolds]", 1p. on 1 leaf. Typed manuscript, with one holograph revision, signed by Hubbard at end. 13 lines, 90 words. A short appreciation of Reynolds' children's book. Bears manuscript notation "Copy sent to Page & Co."


"A Little Journey to Sun Up -- The Home of Elbert Hubbard", by May A. Philo, 9p. on 9 quarto leaves. Carbon of typed manuscript. Contents indicate this was written about 1905. Written under the pseudonymn of Brother Ambrosius.

"A Little Journey to the Home of Little Journeys", 15p. on 15 quarto leaves. Carbon of typed manuscript. Contents indicate this was written about 1904-05. Contains extensive details on Hubbard and his speaking style.

"[Hubbard and Shakespeare]", by Glen Buck, 1p. on 1 quarto leaf. Copy of typed manuscript. Dated with cover letter to Lew Sarett, September 4, 1934.

"[Elbert Hubbard of East Aurora]", by George Ferrel, 4p. on 4 quarto leaves. Carbon of typed manuscript. Accompannied by an earlier draft, 6p. on 6 quarto leaves, original typescript with holograph revisions. Accompanied by the Bulletin of the Liberty, Mo. Rotary Club, March 13, 1963, at whose progam Ferrel presented this paper.

Stock certificate No. 51, for two shares of Roycrofter capital stock, June 4, 1902, issued to Hubbard's father, Dr. Silas Hubbard. Contains genuine signatures of Dr. Silas Hubbard, Elbert Hubbard, Elbert Hubbard II, Lyman Chandler, Andrew Andrews, and Ellen Grant. With a penned note of Elbert Hubbard II at bottom, dated 2-15-1964.

"Elbert Hubbard's Birthday Celebration, June 19 to 22, 1930".





  1. Printed 4-leaf program, signed on page 3 by participants in the unveiling of a more-than-lifesize statue of Elbert Hubbard on the Roycroft grounds: Harry W. Mead, superintendent of East Aurora High School, reading Hubbard's "An Invocation to Man"; Irving L. Price, Mayor of East Aurora, greetings; Elbert Hubbard II, remarks; Elbert Hubbard III, unveiling; Jerome Connor, sculptor; Joe Mitchell Chapple, eulogy; and Clarence Darrow, principal speaker.
  2. Guest list and seating locations. 3p., carbon of typescript.
  3. Tinted photograph reproduction of the Hubbard statue, flanked by Elbert Hubbard II, Elbert Hubbard III, and the sculptor, Jerome Connor, and signed by all three, in purple and black ink.

"Rustic Hickory, An Appreciation", 20p. on 20 leaves. Typed manuscript, with extensive holograph revisions and additions. 380 lines, 2100 words. The first four pages discuss successful Irishmen in America, the next eight the Irishman, Andrew Jackson, or "Old Hickory", and the last eight the Rustic Hickory Furniture Co. of La Porte, Indiana.

"To All Guardians, Trustees, Curators, Custodians & Attorneys, Greeting." Proof page. Docketed by Lyman Chandler: "This is for the high toned people who strike Mr. Hubbard for work."

"[Playmates in the Kindergarten of God]". Proof sheet, with page numbering assigned.

"[Cosmic Insight]". Proof sheeet, without page division and numbering. Contains indications of six revisions, but the marginal notes in pencil have been trimmed. Published in The Philistine, Vol. 12, No. 4, March, 1901

Wells' New Descriptive Chart, for the Use of Examiner, Givinga Delineation of the Character of Mr. E.G. Hubbard As Given By Prof. Wm. C. Pike, Sep. 22, 1874. New York, Samuel R. Wells, c1869. Contains 2 pages of charts, with 53 conditions delineated in manuscript.

Birthday sentiment book, for Wilet Hubbard's 21st birthday, June 7, 1910. 74 leaves, bound in full suede, with label lettering in gilt. Contains inscriptions by Elbert Hubbard, C.H. Kingsbury, Dard Hunter, Edith C. Hunter, and Felix Shay, among others.

"She of the Golden Eyes'., by Carl Ahrens. 1p. on 1 leaf. Typed manuscript, possibly copied out by Lyman Chandler (cf. Chandler's letter to Florence C. Irvine, Aug. 5, 1900, p.6). Ahrens was an artist associated with the Roycrofters.

Ali Baba Get-Well Testimonial, July 22, 1923. Resolved by participants of the 1923 Roycrofters Convention and sent to Anson Blackman, affectionately known as "Ali Baba." Signed by 27 parties.

"Terse, But Worse Verse," by Steve and Aitcheff. 1 1/2 p. on 2 leaves. Typed manuscript, dated Bostwick Island, July 14, 1937. Testimonial light verse, written in dialect, addressed to Alexis J. Fournier, long-time Roycroft artist.