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The Book Beautiful: Margaret Armstrong & Her Bindings

The Assunta, Ignazio, Ada and Romano Peluso Exhibition Gallery through April 3, 2021

Visit our online gallery in City Readers

Enjoy this digital gallery talk

In this webinar, Met Museum curators share the Met's collection of botanical watercolors and book-cover designs by Armstrong and her colleagues.

This slideshow features the extraordinary collection and commentary of Margaret Armstrong expert Lowell Thing.

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 Head of Special Collections Barbara Bieck), along with historic photographs and documents.

Meet Margaret Armstrong and Her Family

Color Our Collections

We made a coloring book based on Armstrong's book covers. They are truly works of art, and now you too can decorate (and design!) some intricate and colorful book covers. Grab some markers, crayons, and colored pencils and let Armstrong’s art nouveau designs spark your creativity.

This exhibition is generously supported by The H.W. Wilson Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Thomas E. Dewey Fund and The Felicia Fund Inc.

At right: Margaret Armstrong, courtesy of The Armstrong Family Collection


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