The Personal Librarian - Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian

By Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

  • Release Date: 2021-06-29
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 866 Ratings)


The Instant New York Times Bestseller! A Good Morning America* Book Club Pick!

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post

“Historical fiction at its best!”*
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, from New York Times bestselling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

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 in New York City society 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 create 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.

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


  • Engrossing

    By Hopeful Carefree Girl
    The Personal Librarian was one of the best books I have read. It captured my interest immediately and sustained it throughout. I was fortunate to visit The Morgan Library & Museum in NY which enhanced my appreciation of both the book and this gem of an institution. I strongly recommend the book and, at a minimum, a virtual visit of the Library.
  • Good title appropriate

    By prbehm
    It was very interesting n well written. I enjoyed it thoroughly
  • The personal librarian

    By Harold richardson
  • Personal librarian

    By this nickname thing annoys me
    Fascinating story/history.
  • Love, love, love!

    By Read to get lost and to learn
    Instant classic! Should be required educational reading. My understanding of racism has deepened after reading this book. And, I just enjoyed learning this bit of history through a story that held my interest the entire time.
  • Outstanding, Captivating, Phenomenal!

    By Phenomenial Diva
    I have come to fall in love with Belle de Costa Greene as a audacious, courageous, African American woman who I did not know of. This historical fiction brings to life an era in American history that should remind us of the imperfect imbalance in our society today. The Personal Librarian tells the story of a courageous woman, who had to do what she had to do to not only survive, but thrive.
  • Personal Librarian

    By liberalforever
    Loved what I learned about this under celebrated woman and her life’s journey.