Black Dome Press

Elverhoj: The Arts and Crafts Colony at Milton-on-Hudson


The Arts and Crafts Colony at Milton-on-Hudson

by William B. Rhoads and Leslie Melvin

232 full-color pages, 8″ x 10″ trade paperback
168 illustrations: 86 B&W, 82 color
ISBN: 9798985692105, Price: $35.00

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 Anderson. 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.

William B. Rhoads is a professor emeritus of Art History at SUNY New Paltz where he taught between 1970 and 2005. Rhoads studied architectural history at Princeton University under Donald Drew Egbert and David R. Coffin, receiving his A.B. degree (magna cum laude) in 1966 and Ph.D. in 1975. His doctoral dissertation, The Colonial Revival, was published by Garland in 1977, and he has lectured and published widely on the Colonial Revival, Franklin Roosevelt's art and architectural interests, and the architecture of the Hudson Valley.
Rhoads has served as book review editor for American topics for the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. He is the author of Kingston, New York: The Architectural History & Guide (2003), Ulster County, New York: The Architectural History & Guide (2011), and Charles S. Keefe (1876-1946) Colonial Revival Architect in Kingston and New York as well as a contributing author for Kingston: The IBM Years (2014) and Jervis McEntee: Kingston's Artist of the Hudson River School (2015), all published by Black Dome Press. He also contributed to Re-creating the American Past: Essays on the Colonial Revival (University of Virginia Press, 2006).
Leslie Melvin is an academic technologist at Bard College. After receiving her MA in art history and museum studies, Leslie worked for over a decade in academic image libraries. Local history and historic preservation are avocations: she continues to specialize in image, object, genealogical and historic house research. Leslie joined the Elverhoj research group while serving on the board of the Ulster County Historical Society.

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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 18 August, 2022.

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