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.
Softcover, 218 pages