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WRBG January Event: Book Discussion — The Personal Librarian

January 27 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


The Washington Rare Book Group invites you to join us for our next virtual lunchtime discussion:

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher

Thursday, January 27th at noon via Zoom

As mentioned in our holiday letter, the January WRBG event is going to be our first ever book discussion, where we will look at The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray; a fictionalized story of Belle da Costa Greene, personal librarian to J.P. Morgan.

Publisher’s Description:

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.

Greene was instrumental in establishing and developing the Morgan Library; she witnessed and participated in some of the most important book sales and auctions of the time, traveled the world seeking out new acquisitions, and earned the respect of the rare book world at a time when the field was dominated by men.

To provide additional context for our discussion, we will pair the novel with a scholarly article on Greene and three newspaper articles composed while Greene was still active:

  • Flaminia Gennari-Santori (2017) “This Feminine Scholar”: Belle da Costa Greene and the Shaping of J.P. Morgan’s Legacy, Visual Resources, 33:1-2, 182-197. Click to read
  • “The Morgan Library and Miss Greene: Retrospective Exhibition…” by Aline B. Louchheim. New York Times (1923- ); Apr 17, 1949. Click to read
  • “Spending J.P. Morgan’s Money for Rare Books.” New York Times (1857-1922); Apr 7, 1912. Click to read
  • “J.P. Morgan’s Librarian Says High Book Prices are Harmful.” New York Times (1857-1922); Apr 30, 1911.  Click to read

The virtual book discussion will be held on Thursday, January 27th at noon via Zoom.

Even though there is no cost for this event, please RSVP by January 26th so we can send you an email with login instructions prior to the event. The Zoom link will be emailed to registered participants in advance of the program.

We hope you will join us!

Amanda Zimmerman, WRBG President

Questions? Contact us!


January 27
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Tickets are not available as this event has passed.