The Bruce Goodman Read in Color Little Free Library Book Pick of the Quarter

The Bruce Goodman Read in Color Little Free Library is sharing a review of The New York Times Best Seller The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, a remarkable novel about J.P. 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 da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection.

But Belle has a secret, one she 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.

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

“Written by two authors, one white, one black, this book creates an authentic look at the costs of ‘passing’. The book kept me intrigued throughout. Learning about a woman who took risks, carved her own path, and silenced naysayers is a gift and a must read,” said JFS Community Engagement Manager Jodi Saltzman.