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E. A. Christensen

(b Bloomington, IL, June 19, 1856; d SS Lusitania, off Co. Cork, May 7, 1915).

American designer. He was initially a successful salesman for the Illinois-based Weller’s Practical Soaps. He settled in East Aurora, near Buffalo, NY, and abandoned selling soap in 1893. During a trip to England the following year, he met William Morris and admired the works of his Kelmscott Press. On returning to East Aurora, Hubbard employed his great showmanship to popularize a simplified version of English Arts and Crafts design for a wide audience. With the help of a local press, he began publishing monthly biographies, Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great (1895–1909), the first two of which treat the lives of George Eliot and John Ruskin. Soon after, he founded the Roycroft Press with the publication of The Philistine (1895–1915), a monthly journal combining popular philosophy, aphorisms and brief preachments with crude Art Nouveau lettering and ornament. The Song of Songs (1895), printed on handmade paper with rough and arty bindings, was the first of many Roycroft books. The press became the centre of the ...

Article

Peter Stansky

(b Walthamstow [now in London], March 24, 1834; d London, Oct 3, 1896).

English designer, writer and activist. His importance as both a designer and propagandist for the arts cannot easily be overestimated, and his influence has continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. He was a committed Socialist whose aim was that, as in the Middle Ages, art should be for the people and by the people, a view expressed in several of his writings. After abandoning his training as an architect, he studied painting among members of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1861 he founded his own firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.), which produced stained glass, furniture, wallpaper and fabrics (see §3 below). Morris’s interests constantly led him into new activities such as his last enterprise, the Kelmscott Press (see §5 below). In 1950 his home at Walthamstow became the William Morris Gallery. The William Morris Society was founded in 1956, and it publishes a biannual journal and quarterly newsletter....

Article

Mary Ann Smith

(b Osceola, WI, March 9, 1858; d Syracuse, NY, April 20, 1942).

American designer and publisher. During most of the period 1875–99, he worked in various family-owned furniture-manufacturing businesses around Binghamton, NY. He travelled to Europe in the 1890s, seeing work by Arts and Crafts designers. In 1898 he established the Gustave Stickley Company in Eastwood, a suburb of Syracuse, NY. The following year he introduced his unornamented, rectilinear Craftsman furniture inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris. He adopted a William Morris motto, ‘Als ik kan’ (‘If I can’), as his own and used the symbol of a medieval joiner’s compass as his trademark. In 1903 he dropped the ‘e’ in the spelling of Gustave.

Stickley published The Craftsman Magazine (1901–16), a periodical devoted to the Arts and Crafts Movement (see Craftsman Movement). The first issue was dedicated to Morris, the second to Ruskin. Most issues contained articles and illustrations of Craftsman furniture by Stickley. The periodical contained information on American and foreign designers, Japanese and Native American crafts, manual arts education, socialism, and gardens. The architect ...