Respectability: Its Rise and Remedy. Fra Elbertus, Elbert Hubbard.
Respectability: Its Rise and Remedy
Respectability: Its Rise and Remedy
"The stone buildings, the beautiful grounds and four hundred strong, healthy workers are there at Roycroft; and these things cannot be waived nor smiled away. The place is one of physical, mental and moral health. The Roycroft Shop taken as a whole, seems an index finger pointing the way."

Respectability: Its Rise and Remedy

Very Good. Item #10346

East Aurora: The Roycroft Shop, 1905. First Edition. Letterpress. Small octavo (21x15x1.5cm); [vi] + 123pp. "Rubricated" throughout with each page also showing running title heads in the same color at the shoulder (so to speak).

Maroon suede covers with yapp edges; front panel shows blind-stamped pane framing title and author in gilt. Claret-pink moiré silk overlays to pastedowns, à la doublure. Textblock of Roycroft laid paper with Roycroft watermark clearly visible (see photo). Top edge of textblock gilt; other edges untrimmed. Pink silk bookmark, now detached, is laid in.

The suede cover edges and spine show signs of slight browning from handling, and the spine is rolled in a direction suggesting multiple re-readings—but the pages themselves are impeccable apart from narrow browning at untrimmed edges.

Our author is none other than Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), founder and chief proselytizer for the handicraft Roycroft community (fl. 1900-1910) in East Aurora, just outside of Buffalo. Hubbard was inspired by a trip abroad to be the American emulator of William Morris and the Kelmscott Press. Trips abroad would be his undoing, however: he drowned in the sinking of the Lusitania.

Would that his text were worthy of the binding. It's a literary admixture of Mark Twaineries, knock-off Emersonianism, and insecure Narciss[us]ism, endearing until it becomes unbearable. The volume ends in a hyperbolic paean to the Roycroft community itself, just after comparing its practices to those of Periclean Athens. While decrying specious societal “Respectability,” Fra Elbertus seems to be begging for it.

Price: $50.00