Elverhoj (Danish for “hill of the fairies,” pronounced “El-ver-hoy”) was an Arts and Crafts colony established on the picturesque west shore of the Hudson River in 1912 by Danish American artists and craftsmen led by Anders Andersen. Little known today, the colony achieved a national reputation before World War I and earned a gold medal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. That same year a write-up in Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman magazine with photos of the rustic studios added to the colony’s growing fame.
Elverhoj was especially regarded for its jewelry and metalwork, but the works of painter-craftsman James Scott and etcher Ralph Pearson added to its renown, as did a fruitful connection with nearby Vassar College strengthened by the efforts of colony members Bessie and Henrietta Scott, sisters talented in textile arts.
As part of the William Morris–inspired Arts and Crafts movement, Elverhoj experienced a decline in the 1920s, partially offset by the opening of a theatre with links to Broadway and the addition of a Moorish-style dining terrace. Still, the Depression dealt a fatal blow, despite Andersen’s enlisting the help of Eleanor Roosevelt, and the property was acquired by followers of the charismatic Black leader Father Divine, becoming one of his most popular “heavens.” Andersen, always the colony’s central figure but one who did not seek personal recognition, died in obscurity in 1944. Many of the book’s more than 160 illustrations stem from an archive kept by Andersen that has only recently come to light.
Published by Black Dome Press and distributed by RIT Press.
Publisher: Black Dome Press (08/2022)
Illustrations: 168 total, 82 color
Size: 8 x 10 in.
Shipping Weight: 2lb
New York Almanack: Elverhoj: The Arts and Crafts Colony at Milton-on-Hudson
The New York Times: 4 Books That Offer a Bouquet of Design Inspiration
Table of Contents
Illustration Notes and Abbreviations
Chapter One: Anders H. Andersen: From Denmark to the American Midwest
Chapter Two: From Racine to Milton and the Creation of the Elverhoj Colony
Chapter Three: The Site Andersen Acquired and Its Transformation for the Colony
Chapter Four: Andersen's Beliefs and Ideals
Chapter Five: Elverhoj Craft and Art Achieves a National Reputation
Chapter Six: Three Important Visitors to the Colony: Elisabeth Luther Cary, C. R. Ashbee, and Hanna Astrup Larsen
Chapter Seven: World War I and the 1920s at Elverhoj: The Decline of the Arts and Crafts, the Rise of the Theatre and Moorish Dining Terrace
Chapter Eight: Vassar College Connections
Chapter Nine: The Women of Elverhoj: Craft as Cottage Industry, Craft as Cure
Chapter Ten: The Colony's Appeal for Students and Vacationers
Chapter Eleven: Elverhoj's Failure, Despite Eleanor Roosevelt's Best Efforts
Chapter Twelve: Andersen's Last Years, Death, and Legacy
Chapter Thirteen: The Colony Property after Andersen's Death
Timeline of the Elverhoj Colony
Appendix I: Secondary Figures
Appendix II: Shops in Poughkeepsie
Appendix III: Selected Patrons Named in Elverhoj Publicity
The Elverhoj Archive and Other Sources