We are not sent into this world to do anything into which we can not put our hearts. We have certain work to do for our bread and that is to be done strenuously, other work to do for our delight and that is to be done heartily; neither is to be done by halves or shifts, but with a will; and what is not worth this effort is not to be done at all.--John Ruskin
I am Elbert Hubbard's son, and I am entirely familiar with the proposition that "Genius never reproduces."
Heretofore, it has always been necessary to sign my name, "Elbert Hubbard II"--but now there is an embarrassment in that signature, an assumption that I do not feel. There is no Second Elbert Hubbard. To five hundred Roycrofters, to the Village of East Aurora, and to a few dozen personal friends scattered over the face of the earth, I am Bert Hubbard, plain Bert Hubbard--and as Bert Hubbard I want to be known to you.
I lay no claim to having inherited Elbert Hubbard's Genius, his Personality, his Insight into the Human Heart. I am another and totally different sort of man. I know my limitations. Also, I am acquainted with such ability as I possess, and I believe that it can be directed to serve you. I got my schooling in East Aurora. I have never been to College. But I have traveled across this Country several times with my Father. I have traveled abroad with him. One time we walked from Edinburgh to London to prove that we could do it.
My Father has been my teacher--and I do not at all envy the College Man. For the last twenty years I have been working in the Roycroft Shops. I believe I am well grounded in Business--also, in Work. When I was twelve years old my father transferred Ali Baba to the garden--and I did the chores around the house and barn for a dollar a week. From that day forward I earned every dollar that ever came to me. I fed the printing-press at four dollars a week. Then, when we purchased a gas-engine, I was promoted to be engineer, and given a pair of long overalls.
Two or three years later I was moved into the General Office, where I opened mail and filled in orders. Again, I was promoted into the Private Office and permitted to sign my name under my Father's, on checks. Then the responsibility of purchasing materials was given me. One time or another I have worked in every Department of the Roycroft Shops. My association with Elbert Hubbard has been friendly, brotherly. I have enjoyed his complete confidence--and I have tried to deserve it. He believed in me, loved me, hoped for me. Whether I disappointed him at times is not important. I know my average must have pleased him, because the night he said Farewell to the Roycrofters he spoke well of me, very well of me, and he left the Roycroft Institution in my charge.
He sailed away on the "Lusitania" intending to be gone several weeks. His Little Journey has been prolonged into Eternity. But the work of Elbert and Alice Hubbard is not done. With them one task was scarcely under way when another was launched. Whether complete or incomplete, there had to be an end to their effort sometime, and this is the end. Often Elbert Hubbard would tell the story of Tolstoy, who stopped at the fence to question the worker in the field, "My Man, if you knew you were to die tomorrow, what would you do today?" And the worker begrimed with sweat would answer, "I would plow!"
That's the way Elbert Hubbard lived and died, and yet he did more--he planned for the future. He planned the future of the Roycroft Shop. Death did not meet him as a stranger. He came as a sometime-expected friend. Father was not unprepared. The plan that would have sustained us the seven weeks he was in Europe will sustain us seven years--and another seven years. Elbert Hubbard's work will go on. I know of no Memorial that would please Elbert Hubbard half so well as to broaden out the Roycroft Idea. So we will continue to make handmade Furniture, hand-hammered Copper, Modeled Leather. We shall still triumph in the arts of Printing and Bookmaking. The Roycroft Inn will continue to swing wide its welcoming door, and the kind greeting is always here for you. "The Fra" will not miss an issue, and you who have enjoyed it in the past will continue to enjoy it! "The Philistine" belonged to Elbert Hubbard. He wrote it himself for just twenty years and one month. No one else could have done it as he did. No one else can now do it as he did. So, for very sentimental reasons--which overbalance the strong temptation to continue "The Philistine"--I consider it a duty to pay him the tribute of discontinuing the little Magazine of Protest.
The Roycrofters, Incorporated, is a band of skilled men and women. For years they have accomplished the work that has invited your admiration. You may expect much of them now. The support they have given me, the confidence they have in me, is as a great mass of power and courage pushing me on to success. This thought I would impress upon you: It will not be the policy of The Roycrofters to imitate or copy. This place from now on is what we make it. The past is past, the future spreads a golden red against the eastern sky. I have the determination to make a Roycroft Shop--that Elbert Hubbard, leaning out over the balcony, will look down and say, "Good boy, Bert--good boy!" I have Youth and Strength. I have Courage. My Head is up. Forward--all of us--March!
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