Tuesday, July 5th 2022
In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection for his Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and in art and literary circles, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating as she builds a world-class collection.
But Belle has a secret that must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white—her complexion is dark because she is African American.
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for both her intellect and style, and shares the lengths she must go to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.