Revealing the Roycroft Legacy Online and the Return of the Roycroft History Course

by Kate Nixon


The Roycroft legacy continues this weekend with two seminars on the importance of the Roycroft Shops and the impact of the early publications produced at the Shops; this class is part of “The Ruskin, Roycroft, and the Arts & Crafts,” the virtual conference offered from the Roycroft Campus Corporation running through the end of the month. According to Roycroft Campus Program Director Alan Nowicki, the virtual environment has provided a great environment to connect supporters and historic organizations with each other, both local and overseas.

Nowicki reported a very successful first week and particularly notes the success in connecting with supporters from other states and countries. “It’s been a huge success for us. Now we have people from nineteen states and folks from Canada joining us. It’s opening up an opportunity for people who would normally worry about travel. All things considering, we may continue to do these sessions in addition to our in-person events when allowed.” 

Alan Nowicki, director of programming at the Roycroft Campus.

In addition to being program director for the Roycroft Campus, Nowicki manages the tours, instructors and workshops, the Roycroft art shows, the Roycroft Film Society and Book Club, and special events throughout the year. He also maintains the Campus website and gives talks on Roycroft History throughout the region. He has 15 years of experience working in educational programming, professional development and community outreach. Additionally, he teaches art history at a community college.

Mr. Nowicki will teach a class this weekend on the 24th as part of the Ruskin, Roycroft and the Arts & Crafts Virtual Conference, a collaboration between The Roycroft Campus, The Ruskin Society of North America, and The Guild of St. George that tells the story of John Ruskin and Elbert Hubbard within the Arts and Crafts Movement. Entitled “The Art and Craft of Hubbard’s Roycroft,” the class will delve into Elbert Hubbard’s creation of the Roycroft Shops, inspired by John Ruskin and will focus on the publications created from within its walls during a near 50-year span. Examples of other media including copper, stained glass and furniture will be covered. According to Nowicki, the focus on writing in the Arts and Crafts Era is important to understanding both Ruskin and Hubbard. “Ruskin was a writer and Hubbard wanted to be a writer. Hubbard’s main focus was on books, it was always on books.” 


Alta (Hubbard) Fatty illuminating a page. Photo courtesy of the Roycroft Campus Corporation.


Additionally on the 24th, lifelong East Auroran Rick Ohler of the Roycroft Print Shop studio will offer up a virtual ramble around the Campus. He will present stories, photos and history around the campus. 

Registration for the conference is $50 per person and covers all five weeks (eight presentations). Copies of all presentations will be available to all attendees after the conference. Click here to register for the remaining courses from the Ruskin, Roycroft and the Arts and Crafts Conference. 


Twilight at the Printshop. Photo credit: Peter Potter


The Return of the Roycroft History Course



“We are trying to make the best of the current situation. Although we miss having large groups of people on the Campus, we are reaching a broader audience, with individuals from other states, and countries, taking part in our virtual programs.” The course will look at the “Masters of the Arts & Crafts.” As Mr. Nowicki says, “It’s like the Mount Rushmore of the movement. Through these four individuals, you will have a better understanding of the Arts and Crafts, and its key players.” A different guest speaker will be leading each class, which takes place on Zoom, Saturday afternoons at 12:00pm in November.

The history course begins on November 7th with an introduction to John Ruskin, by Dr. James Spates. On November 14th, we are excited to have Dr. David Latham, retired professor at York University and one of the leading scholars on William Morris, join us from Canada. David Rudd, a dealer in decorative arts and consultant to Christie’s Auction House, will be giving an introduction on Stickley and his furniture career, as well as the current state of the Stickley house in Syracuse, N.Y.  “Gustav Stickley, The Man and His Mission” will be presented on November 21st.  Finally, on November 28th, we welcome back Robert Rust. A previous co-owner of the Roycroft Inn and Shops, and a founding member of The Roycrofters-At-Large-Association, Mr. Rust will be presenting on Elbert Hubbard II.

If you’d like to sign up for the classes, click here to visit the Roycroft Lecture page on the Roycroft Campus website.