Things I Want In My Hubbard Cupboard

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest was published by Elbert Hubbard, and so is yet another thing Roycrofter-tian. One of my husband’s obsessions, I am granted free access to and use of all of our duplicate copies, so you should expect to see them here from time to time.

Today I present advertisements for White Hyacinths and Woman’s Work — prominently featured in The Philistine because the books were written by none other than Elbert Hubbard & his wife, Alice Hubbard, respectively.

white-hyacinths-womans-work(Ads, and “inspirational work advice,” from The Philistine, Vol. 26, March, No. 4, 1908)

The first book, as you can see by the old ads, is “a book for lovers — married or unmarried” — but don’t think it’s recommending scandalous romantic relationships prior to marriage; White Hyacinths is a book about one’s love affair with life & the earth, as seen in the book’s most complete title “So here cometh WHITE HYACINTHS Being a book of the heart by Elbert Hubbard wherein is an attempt to body forth ideas and ideals for the betterment of men, eke women, who are preparing for life by living.”

Intriguing, yes; but my personal vintage book lust is currently in hot pursuit of the second book, Alice’s Woman’s Work.

Tell me, ladies, that this ad copy doesn’t make you clap your hands with joy:

Woman has always been demoneized by male men. Mrs. Hubbard thinks this is an error for both parties and gurgles her disapprobation in Caslon. Woman’s services have been paid for in clearing house promises payable in Heaven.

…Scripture charges her with disarranging the plans of Deity; the Puritans invented and operated the ducking stool for her benefit; all of the twenty witches hanged at Salem were women; she was voted out of the General Conference of Methodists — although the mother of John and Charles Wesley, and seventeen other Wesleys, was a woman, and a preacher; a woman was recently sentenced to prison in England because she insisted on having her political preferences recorded; Blackstone calls her an undeveloped man; women are not allowed to speak in Episcopal nor Catholic churches; good priests refrain from loving women as a matter of conscience, and spiritual expediency, so it seemed necessary for Mrs. Hubbard to write this book as an apology for being on earth and an explanation regarding the weaker sect, and also the unfair sex.

Or this, from the second ad for the same book:

Here is heresy, proud and patent, telling why woman is a plaything for men when she is pink and twenty, and a drudge and scullion when winter touches her hair with the frost of years — sometimes. The worst about the Marital Steam Roller is that the race suffers.

Let no presumptuous person arise and dispute this fact: women are the mothers of men. And in spite of all we can do, the qualities of the mother are the heritage of her sons. To have a truthful, direct and gentle race of men who are strong enough to look each day in the eye, who are afraid of no man, and of whom no man is afraid, we must evolve a race of mothers who are not burdened by idleness, overwork, skimped allowances or the masculine idea of Run-and-Fetch-my-Slippers.

Mrs. Hubbard is a working woman. She is Vice-President and General Manager of The Roycrofters, a corporation that employs five hundred people. She has thoughts and expresses them.

(See full scans of ads, above and below, by clicking on them.)

white-hyacinths-warning-womans-work(Antique book ads from The Philistine, Vol. 27 October No. 5, 1909)

What’s not to love?

Sadly, copies of Women’s Work are difficult to come by. Isn’t that usually my luck? Or is that simply human nature to desire the harder to find object?

I suspect that even among the Roycrofters and fans of Roycrofters, that White Hyacinths’ beauty was far more appealing than the self & societal work presented in Alice’s book. I’m only guessing; I haven’t gotten my hands on either yet. (My Hubbard Cupboard is bare.)

The opening line in the 1909 ad for Woman’s Work read, “Men afraid of an Idea, or women incapable of the same, will do well to eschew the book by Alice Hubbard entitled Woman’s Work.”

From the looks of what few copies remain, most people preferred to eschew.

Or, maybe, just maybe, those who have the book love it so that they keep it close to their bosom.


  1. Very cool ad for Woman’s Work. I found this page when looking for info because I’m selling my copy (I made your ebay link work!). This made me want to keep it a bit longer, but alas I still need the cash. Thanks for the scan-

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