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
Score: 4.5
From 2,077 Ratings


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

Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR! Named a Notable Book 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.


  • Pentimento

    By CC4ART
    How much has been white washed in history? I enjoyed the discovery of yet another woman of color, so intelligent, elegant and unique.
  • Excellent, informative , well-written

    By Sbt33
    This was such an interesting book. Very well written that I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to add a tour of this library to my bucket list.
  • Amazing

    By Colleen85928592
    Like nothing I’ve ever read. So dynamic & interesting!
  • Interesting Story.

    By traqkat
    A beautiful story, it just drug on a bit toward the end.
  • Excellent read

    By Pepper Evans
    well written, great level of detail, fascinating perspective into life of a successful black woman in the early part of 20th century
  • Intriguing

    By Gogetlo
    Loved learning about a true story and the intricacies of racial prejudice while passing for white to keep a job with the most powerful man in America-JP Morgan.
  • 5
    By marytheoldestfan
    The librarian has a real talent in the art industry. I needed more to get the end of the story. It stopped too soon.
  • Brilliant. Entertaining. Insightful.

    By SweeyPickles
    Great read.
  • Captures the imagination from a historical standpoint

    By jdjfsgjshfshtsusutsjtsjtsita
    This story sheds a light into the world of high society, art, travel and segregation in the 1900s. The secret of living as a white person afforded Belle a great life but cost her soul. A True but sad historical fiction that is intriguing. My view of the past is forever changed in a way that was needed! Great book you will not want to put down!
  • The Personal Librarian

    By Joanabake
    I loved this book. A true story of a remarkable woman who curated the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York at the turn of the 20th century, an African American who because of the racism in this country at the time, passed as white her whole life.