‘The Reinvented Life of Belle da Costa Greene’ set to open at Vanderbilt Central Library Feb. 14

A new exhibit set to open at Vanderbilt Central Library’s Special Collections on Feb. 14 will feature Belle da Costa Greene, the famed 20th-century librarian for American financier and investment banker J.P. Morgan. Greene was an expert on incunabula—books printed before 1501 C.E.

The library exhibit and related events are hosted by the Vice Provost Office for Arts and Libraries.

Born Belle Marion Greener in 1879, she was the daughter of the first African American graduate of Harvard University. She accessed the rarefied worlds of the Morgans and Vanderbilts by “passing” as a white woman. In exploring her life, The Reinvented Life of Belle da Costa Greene exhibit and series of events will engage questions on race, class, gender and passing in the early 20th century. 

The Central Library, as part of the Vanderbilt libraries system, hosts a rotating series of exhibitions featuring materials from Special Collections that highlight aspects of the history of the library, the Vanderbilt campus and the Nashville community. 

The exhibit is co-sponsored by:

  • Special Collections, Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries
  • African American and Diaspora Studies and the Callie House Research Center
  • Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center
  • Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center
  • Nashville Public Library