Margaret Ely Webb

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Margaret Ely Webb
Margaret Ely Webb.jpg
Born 1874
Died 1965
Santa Barbara, California
Nationality American
Known for Illustrator
Movement Arts and Crafts

Margaret Ely Webb (1877–1965) was an American illustrator, printmaker, and bookplate artist. She was part of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s.

Early life[edit]

One of Webb's own self-made bookplates.

Webb was born in 1877 to a New Jersey family with three sons. Her father died sometime before 1918, when Webb's mother married Charles Albert Storke, a prominent citizen of Santa Barbara, California and mayor from 1898-1901.[1]

Webb studied in New York at the Art Students' League and at Cooper Union. She lived in Boston and New Jersey, before settling in Santa Barbara in 1922.[2]


A bookplate by Webb for her stepbrother, Thomas Storke.

Webb was an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s. She was known for her intricate, pen-and-ink bookplate designs. According to the Santa Barbara Independent, "one critic, writing in August 1908, confessed that the beauty of Webb’s plates had shattered his prejudice against women artists." Webb created bookplates for notable Santa Barbarans, including her step-brother, Thomas M. Storke.[1]

In the 1940s, Webb took up woodblock printing as a medium for bookplates. She also painted watercolors and oils. Webb is primarily remembered for her work as an illustrator of children's literature; her illustrations also appeared in many magazines.[1]

Memberships and Awards[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Webb was also a talented musician and a horticulturalist. The gardens at her home in Santa Barbara were admired throughout the South Coast.[1]

Death and Legacy[edit]

In 1950, Webb sold her longtime home on West Micheltorena Street and moved to Mountain Drive, where she converted the garage into her studio. She died in 1965.[1] A collection of her watercolors of wildflowers was given to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and her illustrations would eventually become part of the collections of the Library of Congress and the British Museum.[1]


Some of Margaret Ely Webb's bookplates are held in the William Augustus Brewer Bookplate Collection at the University of Delaware.


External links[edit]