Armstrong, Margaret. Hard Cover. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902. 1st Edition. Near Fine.
Illustrated with black and white plates after Howard Pyle, Arthur Heming, Corwin Knapp Linson, Frank Vincent DuMond, and John Reinhard Weguelin. First edition, first printing. Publisher's decorative blue cloth designed and signed by Margaret Armstrong, with an Art Nouveau floral illustration in blue, green and gilt to the front panel, spine with floral decorations and lettering in gilt, printed on laid paper. Near fine or better, with a touch of wear to the spine ends, bookseller's plate to the front pastedown, a few faint spots to the endpapers and frontispiece, otherwise fresh interior. Gullans and Espey 278. The Blue Flower is a collection of stories by Henry Van Dyke, minister, diplomat, and professor of English at Princeton University. Specifically, it includes "The Blue Flower," "The Source," "The Mill," "Spy Rock," "The White Blot," "The Other Wise Men," "A Handful of Clay," "The Lost Word," and "The First Christmas Tree." Although some had been previously published, Van Dyke explains his selection of stories for this volume: "I wished to bring them into one book because they seemed to me like parts of the same story, - the long story which will not be perfectly told till men learn a new language, - the story of the search for happiness, which is life." 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. After beginning her career with A. C. McClurg, 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.