Selected Special Collections
Margaret Armstrong Binding Collection
Decorative bindings, (approximately 200 items).
[Woman with off-shoulder wrap]. Armstrong illustration from the Prints and Photographs Division, The Library of Congress
Margaret Armstrong, (1867-1944) was an American graphic artist and author and a preeminent designer of decorated cloth publishers’ bindings from 1890 to 1913. Her stylized designs, stamped in bold, contrasting colors and enhanced with gold and silver leaf, have exceptional visual appeal. Armstrong developed her own distinctive lettering and was known for her groundbreaking integration of type and image. She designed for major authors, including the Brownings, George Du Maurier, Paul Dunbar, Washington Irving, Henry Thoreau, Henry Van Dyke, and John Greenleaf Whittier, often creating sets of complimentary covers that identified particular authors. Between 1899 and 1913 Armstrong created covers for fourteen popular romance novels by Myrtle Reed and designed for other late nineteenth-century women writers. Margaret or her sister Helen Maitland Armstrong provided interior border designs for many of the books. As printed dust jackets displaced decorative bindings after 1910, Armstrong began a second career, compiling and illustrating her seminal handbook, Western Wildflowers, and later writing two biographies and three detective novels. The Library of Congress purchased a selection of her book bindings in 2008.
Also see a catalog record regarding Miscellaneous items in the Margaret Armstrong Binding Collection.