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Elbert Hubbard's legacy lives on in new Roycroft Museum

The hand written message from Elbert Hubbard is sparse and to the point: "Mother Hubbard, 9:30 a.m., Love to you all, EH."

Sent on a postcard from New York City May 1, 1915, it was the last known correspondence from the founder of the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora. He then boarded the Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat seven days later off the coast of Ireland.

The postcard is the signature piece in the new Roycroft museum in the historic print shop on the campus on South Grove Street.

"The museum truly gives greater insight to what the Roycroft Campus was. It gives our guests an opportunity to learn more about the personal life of Elbert Hubbard, not the showman that he was," said Curt Marranto, executive director of the Roycroft Campus.

The Roycroft Campus in East Aurora -- a National Historic Landmark since 1986 -- dates back to the late 1800s. Today, visitors to the campus get a close-up look at a unique co… 

The new museum is about 1,500 square feet, and is the new permanent home of the Roycroft Campus' historic collection of documents, documents, books, furniture and artwork showcases the history of the campus as well as the legacy of Hubbard.

The vision of the Roycroft Campus has been to restore it "as if Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters never left" - and that has been the guiding principle of the Museum.

The print shop was built in 1901, to meet the printing demands of Hubbard's well known “Message to Garcia," which he wrote in 1899. The piece  evenutally sold more than 40 million copies. A copy is in the museum.

But his letters show a different side, Marranto said.

"When he wrote his letters to his parents, he could be himself. He didn’t have to choose his words as an author," he said. "It truly does kind of expose Elbert Hubbard for the man he was."

The letters, including love letters to his second wife, Alice, were donated by Brenda Voorhis, Hubbard's great-great-grandniece, who brought a box of letters to the campus.

The museum was not in original plans, but as the campus collected more Roycroft and Hubbard mementos, the decision was made to display them, said Amizetta Haj, marketing and visitor engagement manager.

"A lot of them were stored in boxes as part of our collections, a lot of things were kept in people's attics or basements," she said. "Some things you would not know are 100-plus years old."

Marranto said the museum welcomes scholars who want to research the Roycroft movement. He also wants those with Roycroft artifacts to know that the museum would accept the gift or loan of their family history and legacy.

Also on display is a jacket belonging to Hubbard, original furniture, copper pieces, lamps, vases and bowls.

The Museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, and by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays. General admission is $5, or free to members of the Roycroft Campus.

Photo Gallery: A Closer Look: The Roycroft Campus


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