Margaret Armstrong(1867-1944): Art Nouveau Book Cover Artist


Margaret Armstrong monogram

Margaret Armstrong monogram

Margaret Armstrong(1867-1944), designed over 270 book covers during her career.  I am drawn to her swirling designs, detailed flowers, and love of gold and silver imprinting, and deep rich binding colors.  She and a group of female friends traveled around the western states from 1911-1914, and took a trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon(the first white women to do so), and went on to write and illustrate Field Book to Western Wildflowers. (Printed Flower Gardens)

I was interested to discover, since Stratoz makes stained glass,  that Armstrong’s father was a well-known stained glass artist who worked with Tiffany, Maitland Armstrong, along with Margaret’s sister Helen Armstrong, using a technique of “plating” where glass is stacked in order to modulate the light.  I also covet her monogram, since it is the same letters of my own, and I love the interlocking type.

According to her brother Hamilton Fish Armstrong, in his book Those Days:

“She started a vogue for making the book covers themselves artistic and distinctive, and her covers became a sort of identity tag for the author. Whenever I see the dark blue and gold design on the spine of some book on a library shelf I have recognized it as Henry van Dyke’s even before Margaret’s distinctive lettering tells me so.”

How to Know the Wildflowers

How to Know the Wildflowers. Cover by Margaret Armstrong.


Tent on the Beach

Tent on the Beach. Cover by Margaret Armstrong

Love finds the way

Love finds the way. Cover by Margaret Armstrong

Days Off

Days Off. Cover by Margaret Armstrong.

Pippa Passes

Pippa Passes. Cover by Margaret Armstrong.


Sleepy Hollow.  Cover by Margaret Armstrong.

Sleepy Hollow. Cover by Margaret Armstrong.


How to Know the Ferns.  Cover by Margaret Armstrong.

How to Know the Ferns. Cover by Margaret Armstrong.

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  1. I’m just crazy about these. They make me want to take a field trip to the Book Barn, in hopes of some lovely approximation of this beauty.

  2. ditto what Di says those are exquisite, thanks for the introduction to Margaret.

  3. So interesting and beautiful. Another enormously talented Margaret! Plus, great initials, right?