Unravelling Hubbard and his legacy at Roycroft

We will be tackling the various charts in Marc Jones’s How to Learn Astrology by Marc Jones over the succeeding months.  You can read the whole book online here at the Sabian Assembly site.

Our first chart  is the nativity of Elbert Hubbard who with  his second wife Alice, went down with the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915 near he Old Head of Kinsale lighthouse, Ireland . It breaks from the previous charts in the book as it is not in the piano key layout, but depicts all the planets in their respective signs & houses , making it the first complete chart.

from Hubbard’s Dictionary of Roycroft

Hubbard’s focal determinator is  his cardinal grand cross on the angular houses, & Jones comments that split is emphasized because the Line of Vitality  (Sun aspecting Moon)  is part of one opposition and the Line of Motivation (Jupiter squared Saturn) another, so that he was not reliant on one method of success but utilized one or the other “upon a whim.”¹.

This allowed Hubbard to erect his life in concert with his dynamic aptitude of the spiritual opposition of Mars to Jupiter that appears on his Ascendant/Descendant  while simultaneously trying to meet the emotional challenges posed to him on at the squares, making him a rather adept juggler.

With his success dependent on this facile ability to adapt the desires of his spiritual vision versus the needs of his personal life —  his divorce from his first wife, Bertha Crawford Hubbard cost him $335,000( (2018 dollars) and custody of their two children but that was not much considering the 1.5 million payout he had received from Larkin Soap — he made money hand over fist and since he knew so many rich entrepreneurs like John D. Rockefeller, he invested wisely not that Roycroft needed it, for by 1908 Hubbard was worth an equivalent of $5.9 million on his initial investment.  As he  owned 100% of the firm, supplemented his $50 a week in salary by hitting the lecture circuit,  Roycroft did not lack for funds.  The problem was when the old man got tired, and let his sons take over, it lacked his gumption (Mars partile the Ascendant in the hidden twelfth house).


                                            It all started in Soap

Originally Hubbard worked as a salesman for Larkin Soap Co., based in Buffalo, and then as a PR manager writing great ad copy for  Armour & Co. (meat packing), Burroughs Adding Machine, Elgin Watches, Wrigley’s Chewing Gum, Burpee’s Seeds and the Equitable Life Insurance — all large corporations of the era.

Hubbard was successful but at 35 years old, decided that there was more to life than soap and left the business.  He went to Harvard University in Boston Massachusetts and took several courses on writing.  Inspired by what William Morris was doing in England, he went there to learn from him at the Red house.  This sparked Hubbard’s s interest in printing and publishing house and the eventual formation of the Roycroft Arts and Crafts campus of handcrafted artisans.

Elbert Hubbard 1856-1915

The publishing business did well, and he got up to a 100,000 subscribers.  Realizing he could expand his bookbinding, he took another cue from Morris and went into the decorative arts, and this too was quite successful, selling his wares like Sears and Roebuck via catalog.

He broke with Morris not wanting an upper crust couture line, but instead decided to cater for the new growing upper middle class of America, much like Henry Ford, another Midwesterner he went to Michigan to meet and profile for his magazine.  Everyone was buying a house, and that home had to be furnished — it was Hubbard’s desire to be the major furnisher of goods much like the department store of J. C. Penney, and Macy’s, but he would have just one store, and that in East Aurora, and do the rest via advertising and the catalog.  It was an ambitious enterprise, but with Jupiter in the sixth house, there was little that Hubbard did on a small scale.  Incredibly, it worked.

Marc Jones on Hubbard

Marc Jones writes extensively on   Elbert Hubbard, the “sage of East Aurora” in How to Learn.  You can read the whole thing here.  We have abbreviated it for this essay.

He was a unique and stimulating literary figure, widely known in America at the turn of the twentieth century. The beginner will notice an east singleton Mars in the twelfth house. This is enlightening because of the degree to which this native carved out his own destiny (the eastern hemisphere-emphasis) by means of his own initiative via the Mars emphasis uses of the hidden resources in his own personality.

Jones’s chart is in the Placidean format.  It shows Pluto in the seventh house even though Hubbard died 17 years before its discovery.

The influence of the Mars initiative is so direct in Elbert Hubbard’s life that a first house position might seem more correct than the twelfth house place given but using our preferred Morinus method we see that the Mars is conjunct the Ascendant though not necessarily the first house (The Morinus method separates the two) and that highlights the dynamism of his personality in all his efforts.

woodcut of Roycroft

A further “look” at the Elbert Hubbard chart will show that four of the planets are near the major southern cusp of the Midheaven.  Here we have Saturn  at Cancer 2°55′, which is within a fraction over nine degrees of the cusp at Cancer 12°, and Mercury is a little over a degree farther away at Cancer 1°27′. The sun, at Gemini 28°35′, is within thirteen odd degrees of the cusp, & since the 1°25′ is  in Gemini, add to it the twelve degrees in Cancer,  and you have exact distance of 13°25′.Venus, at Gemini 19°44′, measured in the same fashion, is a little over twenty-two degrees away.

The student for whom this text is geared  should be very careful to make sure he understands how distance around the circle is measured in signs and degrees. He should remember the normal order of the signs, seeing clearly how each represents a successive thirty degrees in the whole zodiac circle & be able to compute the distance with equal ease counterclockwise or clockwise and not rely on software to perform this job for him.

                                        By the light of the Moon

The moon lies almost directly opposite these four planets near the nadir in the north,  a little less than three degrees . Mars is at the easternmost point of the chart, exactly on the first house cusp, as mentioned.  Jupiter is over at the west angle, less than four degrees from an exact position on the seventh cusp.

Pluto is some twenty-five degrees south from this seventh cusp, and Uranus is not quite eighteen degrees farther, giving a Vigintile, one of Johannes Kepler’s minor aspects that is thought to possess a positive creative influence.   In Hubbard’s chart it shows the transformative urge to create socially pertinent things, instead of a commodity, like soap.

Neptune is little less than twenty degrees on the northern side, making another Vigintile aspect, so that there are four planets lustered closely at the midheaven , and four are lying not quite as closely at the west.  The other angles are emphasized by the  close proximity to the single planets, creating the astrological configuration of “x-cross.”


The pattern of the planets here is remarkable  because they cling to the cusps of the angular houses and provide a sort of  metaphorical “crucifixion,” where the person’s spiritual ideals are tested in the material world.

Elbert Hubbard dramatizes this well, since he consistently felt himself to be in complete rebellion against the existing order of things, the Pluto-Uranus vigintile on the eighth house cusp., and his attitude gave voice to America’s growing protest against mid-Victorian artificiality making his Roycroft enterprises an expression of every soul’s need  to break the shackles of an uninteresting existence and like Icarus fly high.




  1. In 1895 when the Hubbard’s divorced, the only reason was proven infidelity .e. adultery or abandonment.  Even with that stringent rule, the divorce rate was about 7%.
  2. Lois Rodden gives another time, but still in the Cardinal quadrature, for Mr. Hubbard.  Look below but the chart does have Witte’s TNPS, the legend is below tnps.pngrodden's elbert hubbard.png
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