The Personal Librarian

Another winner from author Marie Benedict.  This is the remarkable novel about JP Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation.  In her twenties, Belle is hired by Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts and artifacts for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art world, known for her shrewd negotiating and impeccable taste and audacity.But Belle has a secret, one she must never reveal.  She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener, daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well known advocate of equality.  Belle’s complexion isnt dark because of her alleged Portuguese grandmother, allowing her to pass for white.

The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famouse for her intellect, wit and style and shares the lengths she must go to for the protection of her family and her legacy to preserve her carefully crafter white identity in the racist world in which she lives.

Highly recommended