"The world can only be redeemed through action--movement--motion. Uncoerced, unbribed, and unbought, humanity will move toward the light."
--Alice Hubbard, in the introduction to An American Bible (1912)
Alice Moore Hubbard, a writer, teacher, and suffragette, was born in Wales, New York, on June 7, 1861. She was educated at the Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, Massachusetts, which was oriented in New Thought, a non-traditional religious discipline that was influenced by transcendentalist philosophy and held as a central tenet that personal understanding of the world was continually evolving.
After Hubbard completed school, she taught at the East Aurora Academy in East Aurora, New York. It was there that she met Elbert Hubbard, the writer and philosopher who penned the essay A Message to Garcia. Despite the fact that Elbert was married at the time, the two entered into a controversial affair, which resulted in the illegitimate birth of their daughter, Miriam, in 1894. Elbert and his first wife were later divorced, and Alice and Elbert married in 1904.
The Hubbards were well known for playing leading roles in the Roycroft movement, a branch of the Arts and Crafts Movement. In 1895, Elbert founded the Roycroft Arts & Crafts community, a reformist collective of artists and craft workers whose creed was lifted from a John Ruskin quote: "A belief in working with the head, hand, and heart and mixing enough play with the work so that every task is pleasurable and makes for health and happiness:' Alice served as general manager, overseeing the work of the collective, and also managed the Roycroft Inn and served as principal of the Roycroft School for Boys.
Roycroft was a bastion of radical thought; freethinkers, reformers, suffragists, and others who espoused then-radical thinking met often to lecture and converse at the Roycroft shops. Elbert also founded Roycroft Press, which frequently published work from freethinking and progressive writers. Alice, perhaps influenced by her New Thought roots, also embraced freethought, which is evinced in the introduction of the book, An American Bible (1912), which she edited. In it she wrote: "This is the book we offer--a book written by Americans, for Americans. It is a book without myth, miracle, mystery, or metaphysics--a commonsense book for people who prize commonsense as a divine heritage. The book that will benefit most is the one that inspires men to think and act for themselves."
Hubbard was a dedicated feminist, and spoke publicly about the rights of women. She also wrote often about women's struggles, penning several books, including Woman's Work: Being an Inquiry and an Assumption in 1908. She was particularly passionate about women's inclusion in the economic sphere, arguing that women would never be free until they were economically free. In the introduction to The Notebook of Elbert Hubbard, she wrote, "... just so long as there is one woman who is denied any right that man claims for himself, there is no free man; that no man can be a superior, true American, so long as one woman is denied her birthright of life, liberty, and happiness" Elbert, too, embraced feminism, and Alice and Elbert's marriage was known for its egalitarianism.
Alice and Elbert tragically perished on the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, when on their way to Europe to cover the First World War. The boat sank after being torpedoed by a German U-boat. It was reported that the Hubbards had refused a place in the lifeboats, deciding to die together. Alice died five years before women were granted the right to vote.
Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. Free of supernaturalism, humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.