Black Dome Press

Cover Treasure: The Life and Art of Margaret Armstrong


The Life and Art of Margaret Armstrong
by Lowell Thing
456 full-color pages
8 ½ x 11, printed casebound
ISBN: 978-1-883789-99-2, Price: $75.00

• Over 700 color images
• Includes every known cover design
• The ultimate Margaret Armstrong

“The book is stunning.” Holly Phillips, Collections Manager, Acquisitions, Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Cover Treasure provides a thorough overview of Armstrong and her milieu, richly illustrated by excellent images of Armstrong's book covers and numerous historic photographs.” Mindell Dubansky, author of The Proper Decoration of Book Covers: The Life and Work of Alice C. Morse
“Absolutely captivating! Cover Treasure makes a major and significant contribution to the study of Margaret Armstrong, publishers’ bindings, advertising, and the marketing and manufacturing of ‘commercial books.’” Stewart Plein, Curator, Rare Books and Printed Resources, West Virginia University Libraries

The Golden Age of American Publishers’ Decorated Cloth Book Covers
For a brief twenty years as the 19th turned into the 20th century, Americans were often beguiled, entertained, and sometimes dazzled by the attractively designed and often gold-laden covers of the books that they read. In a period when art was breaking from academy-bound tradition in search of new directions, publishers realized as never before that to sell a book, you needed an attention-getting book cover.
Among the hundreds of artists who designed these covers, one stood above the rest. Scribner’s, Putnam’s, and Dodd Mead were among the publishers vying for the talents of Margaret Armstrong. Her inventive, elegant, and beautifully colored designs and lettering were self-identifying; they hardly needed the tiny monogram that she often added to her designs. During her career, she would design over 300 book covers and decorate the pages of many books with her drawings. Her art would become visible in the libraries and on the parlor tables of thousands of American homes. In time, this relatively unheralded period of American publishing history would be rediscovered. Today, examples of Margaret Armstrong’s work are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yet Margaret Armstrong, a descendant of famous Americans, a highly successful literary figure in her later years, but most importantly the pre-eminent artist of the book cover in her time, remains unknown to the general public.

Lowell Thing has collected Margaret Armstrong covers for over thirty years and presides over a Facebook group, The Book Art of Margaret Armstrong. Formerly an information planner at IBM and the founder-editor of, he is also the author of The Street That Built a City — McEntee’s Chestnut Street, Kingston, and the Rise of New York, a contributing essayist to Kingston: The IBM Years, and coauthor of Jervis McEntee: Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School — all published by Black Dome Press. He lives with his wife Suzanne in Kingston, New York.

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  • Shipping Weight: 6lbs
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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 03 August, 2022.

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