The Riverton Area Book Club is meeting Saturday, April 23, to discuss The Personal Librarian by co-authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. It is the story of Belle da Costa Greene (1879-1950), one of the most prominent librarians in American history. She managed the Morgan Library located in New York City for 43 years followed by serving as its director. An exhibition dedicated to her accomplishments is opening there in fall 2024.
This historical fiction reveals the secret truth that Belle had to conceal during the segregated and racist times in her life. She was the daughter of civil rights activist Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard, and Genevieve Fleet from a prominent Black family. After her parents separated, her mother chose to live White and Belle, being light skinned, became Belle da Costa Greene. She was hired by J.P. Morgan in 1906 to be his private librarian responsible for acquiring and documenting rare books and manuscripts. After his death, their close friendship allowed Belle to accomplish her goal of making the Pierpont Library open to the public in the 1920s. But all of this success came at a cost as authors Benedict and Murray demonstrate in their telling of Belle's story.
The discussion will be held in the community room of the Riverton Municipal Building. All are welcome to attend. For questions, please contact the Riverton Library at 217-629-6353.