“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)
Elbert Green Hubbard (June 19, 1856 – May 7, 1915) was an American philosopher and writer. He is perhaps most famous for his essay A Message to Garcia.
He was born in Bloomington, Illinois and founded Roycroft, an Arts and Crafts movement community in East Aurora, New York in 1895. This grew from his private press, the Roycroft Press, which was inspired by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press. (Although called the “Roycroft Press” by latter-day collectors and print historians, the organization called itself “The Roycrofters” and “The Roycroft Shops.”)
Hubbard edited and published two magazines, “The Philistine” and “The Fra.” “The Philistine” was bound in brown butcher paper and full of satire and whimsy. (Hubbard himself quipped that the cover was butcher paper because “There is meat inside.”) The Roycrofters produced handsome, if sometimes eccentric, books printed on handmade paper, and operated a fine bindery, a furniture shop, and shops producing modeled leather and hammered copper goods. They were a leading producer of “Mission-style” products.
Hubbard’s second wife, Alice Moore Hubbard, was a noted suffragist, and the Roycroft Shops became a site for meetings and conventions of radicals, freethinkers, reformers and suffragists. Hubbard became a popular lecturer, and his homespun philosophy evolved from a loose William Morris-inspired socialism to an ardent defense of free enterprise and American know-how. Hubbard was much mocked in the press for “selling out.” The American science fiction writer and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, was a nephew of Elbert by the adoption of his father into the Hubbard family.
He and his wife were killed in the sinking of the Lusitania by the German submarine, Unterseeboot 20 in May of 1915. The Roycroft Shops, run by Hubbard’s son Elbert Hubbard II, operated until 1938.