Armstrong, Margaret; Clark, W. Appleton. Hard Cover. Toronto: The Clark Copp Company, Ltd., 1902. Fine.
Reprint [Scribner's, 1901]. Publisher's decorative blue cloth designed by Margaret Armstrong, with a pinecone and branch design to the front board in gilt and bright green, lettered in gilt, top edge gilt. Fine, with just a hint of rubbing to the extremities, else bright and fresh. A superb copy. Gullans and Espy 277. The Ruling Passion is a collection of eight short stories that includes "A Lover of Music," "A Brave Heart," "The White Blot," and "The Keeper of the Light," among others. Each story features a "ruling passion," or a personal interest "that life unconsciously follows… as the tides in the sea follow the moon in the sky." Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944) was a renowned artist and designer. Along with her contemporary Sarah Wyman Whitman (1824-1904), Armstrong is an example of how the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements at the time provided new opportunities for women's employment in the arts. Raised in New York City, Armstrong first became interested in art and design in her early childhood and started designing book covers by 1890. After beginning her career with A. C. McClurg Publishing Company, Armstrong worked primarily for Scribner's and specifically focused on the works of a few authors. Armstrong's style, which was influenced by the floral patterns of Art Nouveau and the lines and shapes that are characteristic of the Arts and Crafts movement, made her bindings distinct, which was useful in terms of advertisement and branding an author's works as a unique set.