An illuminated life : Belle da Costa Greene's journey from prejudice to privilege
(Book)

Book Cover
Published
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2007.
Format
Book
Edition
1st ed.
Status
Port Angeles - Biography
BIO GREENE ARDIZZO
1 available

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Physical Desc
580 pages, [32] pages of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
Language
English
ISBN
9780393051049, 0393051048

Notes

Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. [543]-547) and index.
Description
Ardizzone's competent, complimentary biography explains the complicated, glamorous woman who transcended her lack of formal higher education and obfuscated her race to become head of the Pierpont Morgan Library and confidante of the financial mogul who founded it. Belle Green (1879-1950), the daughter of a civil rights activist who was the first African-American man to graduate from Harvard College, was plucked by J.P. Morgan's nephew Junius Morgan from the Princeton Library in 1905, where she had developed a passion for the rare pre-15th-century illuminated manuscripts that were to become the basis of her work for Morgan. Greene became a key player in major acquisitions, such as 16 Caxtons from Lord Amherst's collection. She famously lived at full throttle, speaking her mind and taking many lovers, notably married art scholar Bernard Berenson. Morgan's death left her with a sizable inheritance, and she continued at his library. Although Ardizzone delineates the intricacies of major art transactions, she devotes more space to the copious details of Greene's flamboyant personal life than to assessments of the Morgan treasures that were her legacy. Still, Ardizzone (coauthor, Love on Trial) showcases the impressive talents of a woman who once wielded enormous power in New York society.