Once the private home of poet, Katrina Trask and her husband Spencer Trask, Yaddo is now an artist colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Trasks purchased the property in 1881, and named it Yaddo. The main house burned down 10 years after the Trasks bought the property. Architect William Halsey Wood designed a new house for the family which was completed in 1893 and still serves as the main building in the Yaddo community.
After the deaths of their four children, the Trasks envisioned turning their property into a retreat for artists and, in 1900, The Corporation of Yaddo was formed. Spenser Trask died in 1909. Near the end of her life Katrina, then a widow, remarried a friend of the family, George Foster Peabody. After Katrina's death in 1922, George Foster Peabody continued working to make Yaddo an artist community. In 1922 he hired Elizabeth Ames as executive director. Ames opened Yaddo to its first guests in 1926.
The philosophy behind Yaddo is to give artists a quite place to work, free of distraction. Guest artists spend their days alone in cottages and individual rooms. Artists who stay at Yaddo have all of their room and board expenses paid for by the Yaddo Foundation. Acceptance as a Yaddo guest is based on an artist's work and recommendations. As Spenser Task described in his dream for Yaddo, "It is such as these whom we would have enjoy the hospitality of Yaddo their sole qualifications being that they have done, are doing or give promise of doing good and earnest work."
The Yaddo mansion is furnished with Tiffany glass and heavy Victorian furniture. The property has rose and rock gardens which were designed by Spenser Trask, as a gift to his wife Katrina.