A Wedgwood Valentine from Alexis Antiques

Eldred Hubbard lived from 1856 until his death, with his wife, on the Lusitania in 1915. If you do not know anything about this prolific writer, publisher, editor and philosopher, or his Roycrofter Corporation, you might want to Google his name or go to www.roycrofter.com for some background information.

Among the vast output of this company's volumes were 182 booklets called "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great" written over a period of 14 years. All inspirational stories of successful people, they include such categories as philosophers, scientists and artists. They were later issued in a set of Memorial Editions, hardbound books encompassing all individual "Little Journey" booklets in a given category. In a 1924 ad in another publication, "The Mentor", we find that the Memorial Editions, originally published in 1916, were being sold as a set, and in fact I have recently seen a full set for sale here in St. Louis. The hardbound compilations were a memorial to Hubbard "to bring together in one beautiful set those unforgettable gems, recognized as Hubbard's masterpieces, that take us among the men and women of shining achievement in many fields."

And what has this to do with Valentines? One of the "Little Journeys to Homes of Great Lovers" is a factual but nave in style overview of the great love between Josiah & Sarah Wedgwood. The memorial edition combines 12 love stories published in 1906. Among them another that might interest Wedgwoodians is that of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton. Tender stories in a simple and forthright, if a bit flowery, style give us insight into the romantic side of these famous people. The 1906 "Little Journeys" are paperback pamphlets, simple brown paper but most pages embellished with stylistic arts & crafts designs. We are also in possession of another copy of the single "Little Journeys" printed on a gray cardstock and very similar, minus some ads in the brown one, but there is no date or other publication or "reprint" information. The memorial edition has tipped in a print of a line drawing of Josiah - interesting that this is their love story and Sally's image is absent! To quote Mr. Hubbard regarding Josiah & Sally, in his introduction to the Volume VIII Great Lovers, "Here is a love so great that in its beneficent results we are all yet partakers." (1916 and still true today!)

Our Valentine to you from Josiah (written 22 years after their marriage to his friend Lord Gower):

"I never had a great plan that I did not submit to my wife. She knew all the details of the business, and it was her love for the beautiful that first prompted and inspired me to take up Grecian and Roman Art, and in degree, reproduce the Classic for the world. I worked for her approval, and without her high faith in me I realize that my physical misfortunes would have overcome my will, and failure would have been written large where England has carved the word Success."