Belle da Costa Greene: Background information when reading The Personal Librarian

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The Personal Librarian

by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray X
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2021, 352 pages

    Paperback:
    Jun 7, 2022, 352 pages

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Belle da Costa Greene

This article relates to The Personal Librarian

Belle da Costa Greene Belle da Costa Greene was an American librarian who ran the private library belonging to banker John Pierpont Morgan (better known as J.P. Morgan) and later to his son. During her time working for the Morgans, Greene acquired many rare books, manuscripts and other items for her employers, ultimately contributing to what is now an impressive public collection.

Born Belle Marion Greener in 1879, she grew up in Washington, D.C. Her father, Richard Theodore Greener, was the first Black man to graduate from Harvard University. Richard was a lawyer, an activist who wrote and spoke about issues facing Black Americans, and an enthusiastic reader and book collector. Belle's mother, Genevieve Ida Fleet, was a music teacher from a prominent Black family. Richard and Genevieve separated while Belle was still a child, due in part to stresses related to Richard's work. After their separation, Genevieve changed her children's and her own last name to Greene. At some point, Belle and her ...

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