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Elbert Hubbard: An American Original - WNED | PBS

From The Film

Ben Little

Ben Little From An American Original

After working for the YMCA of Buffalo for 25 years, I came home one evening and announced to the family I was going to resign to follow a long time dream of becoming a Cabinet/ Furniture maker. The family (my Wife) decided we could try it for a year and if it didn’t work, I could look for another "real job." Well, it worked and I have been living one of my dreams for the past 23 years.

Tom Harris, a long time friend, and a Roycroft Master Artisan mentored me. We eventually became partners and grew our business, the Schoolhouse Gallery and Cabinet Shops. I became a Roycroft Master Artisan. Tom and I have been making Shaker and Arts and Crafts Period pieces for customers all over the country. We both enjoy studying the historical periods in which we work and we also enjoy the fact that we have the opportunity to become a part of history ourselves. We find fulfillment in the hands-on aspects of designing and making furniture. Over the years we have mentored others who have become Roycroft Artisans and we have taught many students the skills necessary to design and construct different types of furniture.

Ben Little From An American Original

In addition to my love for my work, I also am involved in many church and community activities. I am a past President of The Roycrofters At Large Association and a committee member of the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival. I am a Lifetime Member of Aurora Players, active both on and off the stage. I also enjoy creating and portraying various characters including Ellwood Blues of the Blues Brothers and Herb Buffum, a past superintendent of the Roycroft Cabinet Shop. I perform a living history presentation as Herb for local Historical groups as well as numerous Elder Hostel programs. I am also involved in many fund raising activities including: Captain of American Clearwater Team in the Ride For Roswell Cancer research, the Roycroft, Aurora Players, Seneca Street Church, Romp To Stomp Breast Cancer, and Foundation for Community Betterment. I have also assisted in raising funds for water wells and fire equipment for the people of Cambodia.

Being a Roycrofter, past or present, was more than a job--it was and is a way of life….As Elbert Hubbard said, "Do your work with your whole heart and you will succeed as there is so little competition." We enjoy being Roycrofters and we enjoy Life.

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Funding for Elbert Hubbard: An American Original provided by The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation
Elbert Hubbard: An American Original is a production of WNED-TV