For the surname, see Roycroft (surname).
Roycroft Campus

The Copper Shop, first building of the Roycroft Campus to be restored
Location Main and South Grove St., East Aurora, NY
Nearest city Buffalo
Coordinates 42°46′04″N 78°37′04″W / 42.76778°N 78.61778°W / 42.76778; -78.61778Coordinates: 42°46′04″N 78°37′04″W / 42.76778°N 78.61778°W / 42.76778; -78.61778
Built 1895
NRHP Reference # 74001236
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 8, 1974[1]
Designated NHL February 26, 1986[2]

Roycroft was a reformist community of craft workers and artists which formed part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States. Elbert Hubbard founded the community in 1895, in the village of East Aurora, Erie County, New York, near Buffalo. Participants were known as Roycrofters. The work and philosophy of the group, often referred to as the Roycroft movement, had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century.


Golding Pearl letterpress used by the Roycrofters

The name "Roycroft" was chosen after the printers, Samuel and Thomas Roycroft, who made books in London from about 1650–1690. And beyond this, the word roycroft had a special significance to Elbert Hubbard, meaning King's Craft. In guilds of early modern Europe, king's craftsmen were guild members who had achieved a high degree of skill and therefore made things for the King. The Roycroft insignia was borrowed from the monk Cassiodorus, a 13th-century bookbinder and illuminator.

Elbert Hubbard had been influenced by the ideas of William Morris on a visit to England. He was unable to find a publisher for his book Little Journeys, so inspired by Morris's Kelmscott Press, decided to set up his own private press to print the book himself, founding Roycroft Press.

His championing of the Arts and Crafts approach attracted a number of visiting craftspeople to East Aurora, and they formed a community of printers, furniture makers, metalsmiths, leathersmiths, and bookbinders. A quotation from John Ruskin formed the Roycroft "creed":

A belief in working with the head, hand and heart and mixing enough play with the work so that every task is pleasurable and makes for health and happiness.

The inspirational leadership of Hubbard attracted a group of almost 500 people by 1910, and millions more knew of him through his essay A Message to Garcia.

In 1915 Hubbard and his wife, noted suffragist Alice Moore Hubbard, died in the sinking of RMS Lusitania, and the Roycroft community went into a gradual decline. Following Elbert's death, his son Bert took over the business. In attempts to keep his father's business afloat, Bert proposed selling Roycroft’s furniture through major retailers. Sears & Roebuck eventually agreed to carry the furniture, but this was only a short lived success.[3]

Fourteen original Roycroft buildings are located in the area of South Grove and Main Street in East Aurora. Known as the "Roycroft Campus", this rare survival of an art colony was awarded National Historic Landmark status in 1986.[2][4][5]

The Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum, housed in the George and Gladys Scheidemantel House, in East Aurora is the main collection and research centre for the work of the Roycrofters.

Famous Roycrofters

See also


  1. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 "Roycroft Campus". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-18.
  3. "Elbert Hubbard - The Man.". Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  4. ""Roycroft Campus", July 1985, by Carolyn Pitts (National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination)" (pdf). National Park Service. July 1985.
  5. "Roycroft Campus--Accompanying 3 photos, exterior, from 1973. (National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination)" (pdf). National Park Service. July 1985.

Further reading

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