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A new program from PBS focuses on Elbert Hubbard, father of the Roycrofters, saying, “One man who saw opportunity in the ideas and practices of the Arts and Crafts movement was Elbert Hubbard , not a household name today, but in 1900, he and the Roycroft artisan community that he founded were at the vanguard of a new ideology and democratic aesthetic in America. Reflecting the medieval guild traditions of the Arts and Crafts philosophy, the Roycroft campus was constructed in Gothic and Tudor heritage.”

One of the Roycrofters’ most significant furniture achievements was in outfitting the Grove Park Inn (Asheville, N.C.) with unique Arts & Crafts furniture. Author Bruce E. Johnson writes in his author’s introduction in “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture,” “…¦ I also knew that the opportunity would soon present itself for a book focused on the Arts & Crafts furniture and hammer copper lighting which the craftsmen at the Roycroft Campus had created in 1913 for the Grove Park Inn …¦ Such a book would, I knew, also examine the role both the Grove Park Inn and the Roycrofters had played in the national dissemination of the Arts & Crafts philosophy of Head, Heart and Hand.” That book is “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture.”

Hubbard and the Roycrofters are prominent in the book as an integral part of the history of the grand hotel. But Hubbard’s influence spread farther than just this one commission, regardless of the size. From the PBS web site, “By the first decade of the twentieth-century, Hubbard had become well known throughout the nation as a writer, a philosopher and a lecturer. His eccentric and flamboyant style and seemingly non-conformist ideology endeared him to many readers … visitors flocked to East Aurora just so they could brush shoulders with Hubbard himself, and his popularity helped to boost coast-to-coast sales of Roycroft’s growing line of hand-made products.”

To view the one-hour PBS program on-line, follow this link.

You can also purchase a copy of the DVD by following this link.

To purchase a copy of “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture,” follow this link.

– David Baker-Thiel, editor, Popular Woodworking Books

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