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Elbert Hubbard and Gustav Stickley: two American approaches to the Arts and Crafts ideal

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posted on 2023-09-06, 02:45 authored by Maria Hohner Mahon

The Arts and Crafts Movement had its roots in Great Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. John Ruskin and William Morris, two of the original proponents of the Arts and Crafts values, were concerned both about the lack of beauty in mass-produced objects as well as about the impact of industrially-made products on both the workers who produced them and on the quality and style of the goods produced. However, the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement soon encountered contradictions between their ideals and the options for putting them into practice, including issues related to the use of machines and a segmented labor force in order to make their products more financially available to a large group of consumers. As the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement spread to the United States, these contradictions manifested themselves in the lives and works of Elbert Hubbard and Gustav Stickley. They strove to make quality pieces of furniture but these works were too expensive for most common people to enjoy in their own homes. This contradiction denied both men the satisfaction of achieving the Arts and Crafts ideal, derived from the Socialist interests of William Morris of bringing hand-made, quality pieces to the masses. They were only able to do so when they used machine processes and organized their manufacturing houses with labor divisions.

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ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

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English

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http://hdl.handle.net/1961/thesesdissertations:9665

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application/pdf

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Part of thesis digitization project, awaiting processing.

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