Skip to main content

Miriam Irwin Collection of Margaret Neilson Armstrong Book Design

 Collection
Identifier: US-13-02

Scope and Content

This collection consists of books for which Margaret Armstrong completed the book design. The collection spans Margaret Armstrong's career from 1890 through 1926 and includes designs for books by Henry Van Dyke, Myrtle Reed, Robert Browning, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Henry David Thoreau.

Dates

  • 1890-1940

Creator

Language of Materials

The records are in English

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Biography of Margaret Armstrong

Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944) was born to a wealthy and artistically minded family. Her father, David Maitland Armstrong was an artist of stained glass. Margaret and her younger sister Helen began their artistic careers by painting menus and Christmas cards at an early age. Armstrong's first book cover design was published in 1890 by the Chicago based publisher A.C. McClurg. In 1892 Armstrong's designs won awards in the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Margaret Armstrong and two female contemporaries, Sarah W. Whitman and Alice C. Morse set the standard for cover illustration at the turn of the Century.

Over the course of her life, Armstrong's style evolved. Her designs began with more soft and delicate forms and in the early 1900s shifted to the use of more bold and larger lettering. Her most notable works are her designs for the Henry Van Dyke books which spanned the years of 1895 to 1926. Her work stood out for its unconventional use of bold cloth colors bright inks and Art Nouveau forms. While Armstrong is most well known for her cover designs she was also a successful author in her later life. In 1915 she published the "Field Book of Western Wildflowers." She also published two biographies, Fanny Kamble (1938) and the second, Trelawny: A Man's Life (1940) as well as three popular mystery novels, Murder in Stained Glass (1939), The Man with No Face (1940) and The Blue Santo Murder Mystery (1940) later in life.

Biographical / Historical

Over the course of her life, Armstrong's style evolved. Her designs began with more soft and delicate forms and in the early 1900s shifted to the use of more bold and larger lettering. Her most notable works are her designs for the Henry Van Dyke books which spanned the years of 1895 to 1926. Her work stood out for its unconventional use of bold cloth colors bright inks and Art Nouveau forms. While Armstrong is most well known for her cover designs she was also a successful author in her later life. In 1915 she published the "Field Book of Western Wildflowers." She also published two biographies, Fanny Kamble (1938) and the second, Trelawny: A Man's Life (1940) as well as three popular mystery novels, Murder in Stained Glass (1939), The Man with No Face (1940) and The Blue Santo Murder Mystery (1940) later in life.

Extent

11 Linear Feet

Overview

The collection consists of books for which Margaret Neilson Armstrong completed the book design.

Statement of Arrangement

The books are arranged into boxes alphabetically by author.

Physical Location

Archives and Rare Books Library
Title
Finding aid for the Miriam Irwin Collection of Margaret Neilson Armstrong Book Design
Status
Edited Full Draft
Author
Finding aid prepared by Molly Gullett
Date
2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Rare Books Library Repository

Contact:
8th Floor Blegen Library
2602 McMicken Circle
P.O. Box 210113
Cincinnati Ohio 45221-0113
513-556-1959