“HE MAKES LOVERS OF BOOKS OUT OF PEOPLE WHO NEVER KNEW BOOKS BEFORE”: LITTLE JOURNEYS TO THE HOMES OF EMINENT ORATORS FROM THE ROYCROFT PRESS, 1903
HUBBARD, Elbert. Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Orators. East Aurora, New York: The Roycrofters, 1907-08. Two volumes. Square octavo, original brown half reverse calf, printed paper spine labels, uncut. $600.
First editions of these brief biographies of a dozen significant orators as diverse as Mark Antony, Martin Luther, Edmund Burke and William Pitt, finely printed by the celebrated Roycroft Press and illustrated with 12 portraits.
"He makes lovers of books out of people who never knew books before" (William Marion Reedy). Appalled by the way commercialization cheapened the art of printing books, and inspired by William Morris' Kelmscott Press, Elbert Hubbard founded his own press in 1893. The Roycroft Press became perhaps the most important touchstone of the Arts and Crafts Movement in America, which sought to revive the standards of medieval craftsmanship by producing books that were themselves works of art. Under the Roycroft imprint Hubbard wrote 170 "conversational" essays he called "Little Journeys" about the lives and works of historic personages from such fields as the arts, government and private enterprise. This is Volume XII of the larger series but complete as Books 1 and 2 (and so labeled) of a sub-series that focuses on masters of oratory and rhetoric, offering biographies of Pericles, Mark Antony, Savonarola, Martin Luther, Edmund Burke, William Pitt, Mirabeau, Robert Ingersoll, John Randolph, Thomas Starr King, Henry Ward Beecher, and Wendell Phillips. They were issued one per month to subscribers; these are the 12 for 1903 bound together, retaining original wrappers and advertisements, into two volumes. Finely printed, with decorative flourishes and ornamental initials. A portrait precedes each of the dozen subjects. Bookplate.
A bit of minor wear to paper spine labels only. Very nearly fine condition.