City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
The Book Beautiful: Margaret Armstrong and Her Bindings
Margaret Armstrong was one of the most sought-after artists in an almost forgotten chapter in the history of book publishing—the golden age of the decorated book cover (1890-1915). During Armstrong’s remarkable career, more than a million books with her covers made their way into homes and libraries across America. By 1895 the beauty of Armstrong’s cover designs had placed her as a preeminent talent in an art that publishers had come to value highly. Most of her commissions were from three major publishing houses (Scribner, Putnam and Bobbs-Merrill), although in all she worked for 21 different publishers.
Today Armstrong’s covers are once again prized by scholars, educators and collectors. Her book covers here at the Library are among the prize jewels in our collection. The Book Beautiful: Margaret Armstrong & Her Bindings highlights Armstrong’s exquisite covers and, for the first time, the Armstrong family’s long connection to our Library.
This exhibition showcases some of Armstrong’s most exquisite covers (curated by Special Collections Librarian Barbara Bieck), along with historic photographs and documents.
**Due to the unscheduled library closure, several images in this online exhibit are courtesy of Armstrong scholar Mr. Lowell Thing.