The Village of Arden was founded in 1900 by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price, both social reformers who sought to create an ideal society based on principles set forth by the American economist Henry George. With funding from Joseph Fels, a wealthy Philadelphia soap manufacturer who also financed C. R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft in England, Stephens and Price purchased 162 acres in northern Delaware and named their colony after the Arden forest of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The community’s motto was “You Are Welcome Hither,” but Arden’s founders did not anticipate the diverse and colorful mix of radicals and progressives their experiment would attract, including Upton Sinclair, muckraking author of The Jungle, and Scott Nearing, author of Living the Good Life. Through photographs, Images of America: Arden explores the early history of one of this country’s most vibrant, yet little known, utopian experiments.
About the Author
Mark Taylor is president of the board of directors for the Arden Craft Shop Museum, an organization that he was instrumental in founding. He has written and lectured extensively on Arden’s history.