Roycroft History Course

Inspired by Elbert Hubbard’s own belief in stimulating his workers with lectures, the Roycroft is excited to bring back speakers to the Campus.

2017 Roycroft Campus Spring History Course :

Elbert Hubbard's Buffalo

The Roycroft Campus will once again be offering a special Roycroft History Course in the Spring of 2017. This semester’s theme will be Elbert Hubbard’s Buffalo. We will take a closer look at Elbert’s early life, his time with the Larkin Soap Company, how Buffalo would have looked to Hubbard while living there, and the connection between Theodore Roosevelt, Buffalo and a special book. A different guest speaker will be leading each class, which takes place Thursday evenings starting March 2nd at 7:00pm in the Roycroft Power House. The sessions include:

Elbert Hubbard the Early Years - By Alan Nowicki

Thursday, March 2 at 7pm in the Roycroft Power House

Art History adjunct professor and Campus Program Director, Alan Nowicki, will take a look at Elbert Hubbard's family tree, his parents and his upbringing. An examination of Elbert's school life, early interests, hobbies and family connections which may have influenced his creation of the Roycroft Campus. The presentation will also include some recently discovered family photographs.

How Elbert Hubbard Helped To Create The Larkin Idea - by Christine Campbell

Thursday, March 16, at 7pm in the Roycroft Power House

When one thinks of large corporations in the Gilded Age, images of over-worked and under-paid women and children working in dangerous sweatshops comes to mind. The Larkin Soap Company was a leader in changing the work place environment by placing an emphasis on the overall well being of their employees.  They created an environment where all of the “Larkinites,” which included not only the employees but also management and their customers, were treated with respect which in turn created a very dedicated and loyal organization which serves as a model for successful organizations even today.  Elbert Hubbard was instrumental in developing the Larkin Idea which served as the business model upon which the Larkin Soap Company became one of the largest employers in Buffalo.

This talk will examine Hubbard’s role in creating the Larkin Idea and how this idea improved the lives of not only the Larkin employees but also the lives of the citizens of Buffalo.

Elbert Hubbard's Buffalo - Then & Now - by Brad Hahn

Thursday, March 30, at 7pm in the Roycroft Power House

Elbert Hubbard arrived in Buffalo in 1881 at the height of the Gilded Age. Buffalo was the eighth largest city in America and a magnet for the top talent across the country. The city's industrialists and financiers stopped at nothing to bring the finest architects and designers to Buffalo to refashion the city into a modern metropolis, culminating in the Pan-American Exposition of 1901. Coming to Buffalo as a result were such famous figures as Frederick Law Olmsted and Louis Sullivan, who contributed important elements to the city's landscape alongside flourishing local design talent led by Green & Wicks and Esenwein & Johnson.

Theodore Roosevelt and Buffalo:  A Book Connection Discovered - by Mark W. Warren

Thursday, April 6, at 7pm in the Roycroft Power House

Before opening his own studio in Buffalo in 1905, John F. Grabau learned the art and craft of fine bookbinding at Roycroft, under Louis H. Kinder.  In 1913, Grabau bound a book especially for Theodore Roosevelt, entitled The Promised Land by Mary Antin.  Theodore Roosevelt vowed that the book would forever occupy an honored place in his library.  Once lost to history, come hear the story of how this historic book bound by a former Roycrofter was recently rediscovered.


  • This course will be held on the Roycroft Campus in the Roycroft Power House, 39 South Grove in East Aurora, NY 14052 (unless when otherwise stated).


  • Registration for the Spring 2017 Roycroft History Course is $25 for the general public and $10 to all RCC members. To purchase individual tickets please click here. You will be able to register online through our website or by calling the Roycroft Campus at 716.655.0261.

Past Lectures:

  • Fall 2016 – Roycroft History Course:
    • Robert Lowell Goller: A Tempest in a Village Teapot - Aurora Town Historian examines Elbert Hubbard's love-hate relationship with the Village of East Aurora with an emphasis on Elbert's "politics".
    • Mike Danial: Stickley and he Arts & Crafts Movement - Stickley historian will give a history of the Stickley brothers and their four respective factories, as well as the saving of the company by the current owners.
    • Elizabeth Garber: The Life of Miriam Elberta Hubbard - Elizabeth Garber, Miriam's granddaughter, will explore what Miriam's life was like as a young child, her youth at the Roycroft Campus, and what happened when she was suddenly orphaned at age 21. 
    • Robert Rust: The Other Artists on the Roycroft Campus 1895-1945 - Author and A&C Historian will uncover many of the lesser known artists that worked at the Roycroft including painters Samuel Warner, Sandor Landeau, Sadakichi Hartmann,Lillian Bonham, Merle James, Eleanor Douglass, Lawerence Mazzanovich, Robert Blair and metalsmith Rixford Jennings.
  • August 2016 – Clive Wilmer: Master of the Guild of St George and an Emeritus Fellow in English at Sidney Sussex College, who has spent over 40 years studying the contributions of John Ruskin and William Morris
  • Spring 2016 – Roycroft History Course: Four sessions led by Art history adjunct professor and Campus Program Director Alan Nowicki and Aurora Town Historian Robert Lowell Goller which included: Arts & Crafts 101, Who Were the Roycrofters,Elbert Hubbard and East Aurora, and The Roycroft Press.
  • November 2015 – Francis Kowsky: Author presented on Frederick Law Olmsted and his creation of the Buffalo Park system. 
  • September 2015 – Female Artist Panel: A panel of regional female artists featuring Kateri Ewing, Alix Martin, Grace Meibohm and Sharon Zaremski discussed their art, their process and their role in the art world.
  • July 2015 – Timothy P. Schmalz: International large-scale sculptor who's currently working on a piece for the Roycroft Campus.
  • May 2015 – Robert Lowell Goller: Aurora Town Historian and Aurora Historical Society Director Robert Lowell Goller will discussed the impact of the Lusitania tragedy on the Roycroft movement and the East Aurora community.
  • March 2015 – Grant Hamilton: Owner and publisher of multiple newspapers and family connections to the Roycroft Campus.
  • November 2014 – Judith Miller: One of the world’s leading experts in the field of antiques, international best-selling author, and creator of The Antiques Roadshow.
  • October 2014 – RALA Master Artisan Panel: Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisans from a variety of media discuss their art and the future of the Arts and Crafts movement.
  • September 2014 - Charlie Clough: International artist and co-founders of Hallwalls Center for Contemporary Art in Buffalo.
  • August 2014 - Constance Payne: American artist and expert on the life of Rosa Bonheur returns to the Campus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 4 Seasons murals she painted in the Roycroft Inn.
  • May 2014 - Kitty Turgeon: one of the Founders of the Roycrofters At-Large Association and Executive Director of the Foundation for the Study of the Arts & Crafts.
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