Hard Cover. East Aurora, NY: The Roycrofters, 1907. Limited. Near Fine.
With engraved frontispiece portraits of Elbert and Alice Hubbard, and decorative initials and head- and tail-pieces by Dard Hunter throughout text, printed in green and white. First edition. One of 207 copies signed and numbered by Hubbard on the limitation page, this being number 158. Additionally inscribed by Elbert and his wife Alice on front flyleaf: "To our beautiful Betty with the love and blessing of Alice Hubbard / Elbert Hubbard / Dec 25th 1907." Finely bound in contemporary three-quarter brick-red morocco, marbled boards, five raised bands to spine, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, marbled endpapers, and red ribbon. About fine, with light toning and scratching to paper on front board, a touch of rubbing to foot of spine, and light toning to page edges. Overall, an exquisite copy. White Hyacinths is a book of essays on life, which opens with the epigraph, "If I had but two loaves of bread I would sell one of them and buy White Hyacinths to feed my soul." This edition was published by the Roycrofters, a reformist group of artists and artisans who lived in an artists' colony in East Aurora, New York. Founded by Elbert Hubbard in 1895, the Roycrofters formed a major part of the American Arts and Crafts movement, which encouraged the blending of the artisanal and utilitarian, placing emphasis on the beauty as well as the value of objects. In bookbinding, this translated into the use of commissioned artists to design book covers, endpapers, and page borders. Hubbard's Roycroft Press was inspired by William Morris' Kelmscott Press, which produced beautiful books with elaborate decorations inspired by medieval manuscripts. Item #EHB004