HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
Loading...

The Personal Librarian (original 2021; edition 2021)

by Marie Benedict (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3758711,657 (3.84)56
"The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian-who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built 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 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 her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go-for the protection of her family and her legacy-to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives"--… (more)
Member:bfolds
Title:The Personal Librarian
Authors:Marie Benedict (Author)
Info:Berkley (2021), Edition: First Edition, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:2022

Work Information

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict (2021)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 56 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
This historical fiction book about Belle da Costa Greene was interesting and boring at the same time. It was repetitive in delivering its message about race (which is an extremely worthwhile message). It was interesting asI found I wished it to actually be a biography instead of fiction. And now I need to visit the library in NYC. ( )
  kayanelson | Dec 4, 2022 |
I am halfway through the book and had to put it down. When will something happen? This is so sloooooooooow.. I have a stack of more interesting books to read than to waste my time on a slow-moving uninteresting book. I had such high hopes for this book. I love historical fiction. But this book seemed to have nothing much to tell me after the first few pages. ( )
  jtsolakos | Dec 3, 2022 |
This is the story of the young woman that Pierpont Morgan gave a chance to procure and improve his world class collection of books and art. Her skill surpassed that of his prior - of course male as they all were back then - agent. Her predecessor may have been in a comfort zone, or frankly just less energetic and skilled than Belle de Costa Green, and she quickly rose above him. Ms. Greene's ability to enchant Mr. Morgan with her petite good looks, bold manner, and disarmingly intelligent conversation impressed him almost as much as her knowledge and abilities at reworking the status of his dream collection. One storyline is the long term search for the illusive 'Caxton Book', but in it's culmination the snub of details may leave you feeling empty... This is historic fiction, so if you are looking for a list of the library's contents and the merits of each item, you will be left disappointed. I listened to the audiobook, and loved the authors' follow up explanations of the book's origins. There were many twists and turns in the decision making that resulted in the book's co-author ship and redevelopment. Pre-covid, most of the ideas for Belle's story had already been put together but set aside, in spite of the curiosity the first author had for the character. Due to quarantine an extended collaboration was allowed between the two diverse authors. Together they could see a new angle in the story. As racial tensions across the world were elevated, a different lens was taken in the rewrite. The writers included Belle's exposure to her parents' oppositional views of how to raise their children of color in a racist culture - which split the prominent, intellectual, and ground breaking family apart while Belle was still young. Although 'passing' is mentioned, it is only a small part of what Belle is forced to keep at bay as she works her way to the top. This is not a Hallmark chick story - but real adult issues are faced: like Belle's loneliness due to her restricted choices as a woman and as a person of color with secrets and controversy in her own mind about her choices. If she wants to keep her dream job and support her extended family, marriage and children are off the table for her. Success at work becomes an obsession - for her - much like Mr. Morgan - and they relate to each other in many ways. Belle maintains fierce loyalties to him as she searches the world to authenticate and attain the best antiquities for Mr. Morgan. He supports her well financially, but shares his excitement for her success, at times, in less than appropriate ways. The development of Belle's skill at world class social events and international auctions is another storyline of interest. As a lonely professional, Belle manages to hold off Mr. Morgan, keep her position, stuff a few skeletons in her closet yet keep the door to her secrets closed. The writers have layered in many diverse characters who present topic storylines of both business and personal relationship juxtapositions that become inevitably awkward. Belle's superpower is that she manages whatever seems unmanageable and comes to the rescue, putting the world back in balance every time. I really enjoyed Belle's self talk to reason through her problems, which unfortunately, can still be relatable. Belle faced many of the gender and race issues that so many of us still participate in. The business, economic, and social culture of the United States of America today mirrors our sad history. So we can learn from Belle's place and experiences in history, although her story is not preachy, no, thank you, not preachy. I liked the storyline that allowed Belle to understand and learn from her mother, her absentee father, and Mr. Morgan - and in spite of the fact that all three had done her wrong or misunderstood her view - she was able to learn from their diverse positions and wisdoms . She respected and supported them all until the end and beyond. Much history is in the timeline of this tale, but the real story is Belle's journey. Belle's historic father had high hopes that his generation's hard work was bound to change things, but the window of opportunity for America's cultural and legal success with civil rights got slammed closed by the political predators of Belle's family's lifetime (that still exist). In spite of her challenges, Belle rescued hopes and dreams and legacies for herself and many of those around her. The story of Belle will leave you, too, somehow, inspired and energized - with a feeling of hope for our future. ( )
  WiserWisegirl | Dec 2, 2022 |
This is the story of the young woman that Pierpont Morgan gave a chance to procure and improve his world class collection of books and art. Her skill surpassed that of his prior - of course male as they all were back then - agent. Her predecessor may have been in a comfort zone, or frankly just less energetic and skilled than Belle de Costa Green, and she quickly rose above him. Ms. Greene's ability to enchant Mr. Morgan with her petite good looks, bold manner, and disarmingly intelligent conversation impressed him almost as much as her knowledge and abilities at reworking the status of his dream collection. One storyline is the long term search for the illusive 'Caxton Book', but in it's culmination the snub of details may leave you feeling empty... This is historic fiction, so if you are looking for a list of the library's contents and the merits of each item, you will be left disappointed. I listened to the audiobook, and loved the authors' follow up explanations of the book's origins. There were many twists and turns in the decision making that resulted in the book's co-author ship and redevelopment. Pre-covid, most of the ideas for Belle's story had already been put together but set aside, in spite of the curiosity the first author had for the character. Due to quarantine an extended collaboration was allowed between the two diverse authors. Together they could see a new angle in the story. As racial tensions across the world were elevated, a different lens was taken in the rewrite. The writers included Belle's exposure to her parents' oppositional views of how to raise their children of color in a racist culture - which split the prominent, intellectual, and ground breaking family apart while Belle was still young. Although 'passing' is mentioned, it is only a small part of what Belle is forced to keep at bay as she works her way to the top. This is not a Hallmark chick story - but real adult issues are faced: like Belle's loneliness due to her restricted choices as a woman and as a person of color with secrets and controversy in her own mind about her choices. If she wants to keep her dream job and support her extended family, marriage and children are off the table for her. Success at work becomes an obsession - for her - much like Mr. Morgan - and they relate to each other in many ways. Belle maintains fierce loyalties to him as she searches the world to authenticate and attain the best antiquities for Mr. Morgan. He supports her well financially, but shares his excitement for her success, at times, in less than appropriate ways. The development of Belle's skill at world class social events and international auctions is another storyline of interest. As a lonely professional, Belle manages to hold off Mr. Morgan, keep her position, stuff a few skeletons in her closet yet keep the door to her secrets closed. The writers have layered in many diverse characters who present topic storylines of both business and personal relationship juxtapositions that become inevitably awkward. Belle's superpower is that she manages whatever seems unmanageable and comes to the rescue, putting the world back in balance every time. I really enjoyed Belle's self talk to reason through her problems, which unfortunately, can still be relatable. Belle faced many of the gender and race issues that so many of us still participate in. The business, economic, and social culture of the United States of America today mirrors our sad history. So we can learn from Belle's place and experiences in history, although her story is not preachy, no, thank you, not preachy. I liked the storyline that allowed Belle to understand and learn from her mother, her absentee father, and Mr. Morgan - and in spite of the fact that all three had done her wrong or misunderstood her view - she was able to learn from their diverse positions and wisdoms . She respected and supported them all until the end and beyond. Much history is in the timeline of this tale, but the real story is Belle's journey. Belle's historic father had high hopes that his generation's hard work was bound to change things, but the window of opportunity for America's cultural and legal success with civil rights got slammed closed by the political predators of Belle's family's lifetime (that still exist). In spite of her challenges, Belle rescued hopes and dreams and legacies for herself and many of those around her. The story of Belle will leave you, too, somehow, inspired and energized - with a feeling of hope for our future. ( )
  WiserWisegirl | Dec 2, 2022 |
VERY GOOD.A negro girl and her family, "crossed over" and make themselves appear white in early 1900's in America. As a white woman, nearly 1900's, she becomes the personal secretary of
J P Morgan. Very well written--I heard the Audio. interesting, historical ( )
  evatkaplan | Nov 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marie Benedictprimary authorall editionscalculated
Murray, Victoria Christophermain authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For the two sides of Belle: Belle da Costa Greene and Belle Marion Greener
First words
The Old North bell tolls the hour, and I realize that I'll be late.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

"The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian-who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built 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 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 her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go-for the protection of her family and her legacy-to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives"--

No library descriptions found.

Book description
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. 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.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.84)
0.5
1 6
1.5 1
2 10
2.5 5
3 57
3.5 39
4 136
4.5 25
5 57

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 180,209,040 books! | Top bar: Always visible