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Records of the Roycroft Community (SC-08)

Identifier: SC-08

Scope and Contents

The collection’s inclusive dates are 1899-1915. The collection is comprised of postcards, letters, books, and other ephemeral material.


  • 1899-1915

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright, beyond that allowed by fair use, requires the researcher to obtain permission of copyright holders.

Biographical / Historical

In 1897, Elbert Hubbard founded the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, NY. For more than 20 years, it was a center of entrepreneurship, creativity and learning. It was a hub of the American arts and crafts movement, drawing visitors from faraway places with over five hundred working artisans and craftsmen.

In 1905 the Roycroft Inn opened to accommodate visitors and artisans interested in experiencing this emerging community and style. The Inn became a center of activity for this community. When did it close/why? In 1986, The Inn received National Historic Landmark status. With support from the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, The Inn meticulously underwent an $8 million dollar restoration and was re-opened for guests in 1995. (from

Hubbard chose the name "Roycroft" from the 17th century English book-makers, Samuel and Thomas Roycroft. Additionally, the word roycroft had a special significance to Hubbard, as the word means “King’s Craft.” In 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 Cassidorius, a 13th-century bookbinder and illuminator.

In 1915 Hubbard and his wife, noted suffragette Alice Hubbard, died in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and the Roycroft community went into a gradual decline. Following Elbert's death, his son Bert attempted to keep his father's business afloat, proposing to sell Roycroft’s furniture through major retailers. Sears & Roebuck agreed to carry the furniture, but this was only a short lived success.

Source: Roycroft


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The collection includes postcards, concert and recital announcements, subscription offers, Richmond newspaper accounts of Hubbard’s visit, Roycroft Fraternity membership, an original manuscript of “A Visit to the House of Shakespeare” with handwritten annotations by Hubbard, a blank copy of Memory Book in its original box and other ephemeral material.

Custodial History

The collection was found in the VMFA Library's collection.

Finding Aids to the Special Collections in the VMFA Archives | Records of the Roycroft Community
Special Collection 08 (SC-08)
Erica Borey, Records Manager and Kevin Williams, Archival Intern
December 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Archives Repository

Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library
200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
Richmond VA 23220-4007 United States