KMA Book Club: February 2023

Discussing The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

The KMA Book Club meets every 4 months to review an inspiring piece of literature that relates our lives to artists, history, and culture!

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 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.

Contact Margo Clark, mclark@knoxart.org, for details.

Free and open to the public!

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