As a follow up to my recent article about Larkin libraries, I thought I would take a look at a book printing operation not only close by, but also quite related to Larkin. Specifically, one of the finest book producers in this country in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was the Roycroft Printing Shop (hereinafter, RPS) located in nearby East Aurora.
Founded in 1895 by Elbert Hubbard, (hereinafter, EH), John Larkin, Sr.’s brother-in-law, the RPS was a part of an entity established by EH in East Aurora.. It technically was not a community because housing was not a part of the concept. But this nice, rural town situated not far from Buffalo, which had become known for its fine horse breeding (EH was passionate about horses), seemed like a good place to nurture a population that appreciated hand made, beautiful domestic items. He imagined a place where residents enjoyed the satisfaction of making fine, attractive home furnishings and leading a simple life and that relished home grown foods and a simple life style. It was a cooperative life-style where each member was required to contribute through such physical effort as creating arts or crafts which could be sold in shops to ever-increasing numbers of tourists drawn to this unique town. However, residents did not have to belong to Roycroft at all.