The MTH&M and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture present THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN
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September 14, 2021 • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pmFREE
The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Amistad Center for Art & Culture are delighted to present Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, authors of The New York Times bestseller The Personal Librarian in conversation with Kimberly Kersey, Executive Director of the Amistad Center. A remarkable novel about Hartford’s own J. P. Morgan and his 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. 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.
FREE virtual program, although donations are gratefully accepted. REGISTER HERE.
Signed copies of The Personal Librarian will be available for purchase through the Mark Twain Store; proceeds benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum. Books will be shipped after the event. We regret that we are NOT able to ship books outside the United States as it is cost-prohibitive to do so.
About the authors:
Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms, who found her calling unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. Her mission is to excavate from the past the most important, complex and fascinating women of history and bring them into the light of present-day where we can finally perceive the breadth of their contributions as well as the insights they bring to modern day issues. She embarked on a new, thematically connected series of historical novels with The Other Einstein, Carnegie’s Maid, and The Only Woman in the Room. Her latest works include Lady Clementine, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, and her first co-written book, The Personal Librarian, with the talented Victoria Christopher Murray. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.
Victoria Christopher Murray is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 novels. Her novel, The Personal Librarian, which she co-authored with Marie Benedict, was an Instant New York Times bestseller and her novel, Stand Your Ground won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction. Two of her novels, Lust and Envy have been made into TV movies for Lifetime. Visit her at www.victoriachristophermurray.com
Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and its Travelers Arts Impact Grant program, with major support from The Travelers Foundation. For more information call 860-247-0998 or visit marktwainhouse.org.