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Transforming the Ordinary: Women in American Book Cover Design

February 8, 2020 – March 6, 2022

Exhibition Dates

February 8, 2020 – March 6, 2022

Exhibitions are free with admission.


Transforming the Ordinary: Women in American Book Cover Design examines the heyday of book cover design from the 1890s through the 1930s, a time of great artistic experimentation influenced by the aesthetics of Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement.  During this period, women created thousands of book cover designs for the mass market, from simple one-color stamped designs to more elaborate multi-color designs, some which were stunningly beautiful works of art in and of themselves.  Organized by registrar Angela Waldron and drawn primarily from the Farnsworth Library’s collection, the decorative covers featured in the exhibition are by some of the best known and most prolific cover designers of the period, such as Margaret Armstrong, Amy Sacker, Bertha Stuart, Sarah Wyman Whitman, and a group known as The Decorative Designers.

This exhibition is part of the Farnsworth’s Maine 200 bicentennial celebration First to Hail the Rising Sun. Funding for First to Hail the Rising Sun: Maine Through the Eyes of its Artists is provided by Camden National Bank, the Premier Sponsor of our bicentennial programs; and by donors to our exhibition development and education fund.

Farnsworth Registrar Angela Waldron, who curated the exhibition, gave a lecture at the Northeast Harbor Library, which you can see by clicking on the link below. It is included along with some wonderful short videos in which she examines a few of the works included in the exhibition!
See the Lecture and videos here.

Premier Sponsor of our Bicentennial Exhibitions