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Belle da Costa Greene. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-91222).


Greene, Belle da Costa (26 November 1879–10 May 1950), library director, bibliographer, and art connoisseur, was born Belle Marion Greener, the daughter of Richard Greener, a lawyer and Republican party activist, and Genevieve Ida Fleet Greener. Her place of birth was probably Washington, D.C., where her father held a variety of jobs. But specifics concerning Greene's childhood and education are scarce because she preferred to keep them a mystery. Apparently, she attended Teachers College in New York City, where the family had relocated after Richard Greener was rewarded with a patronage job for his efforts on behalf of the Republican party. Around 1897, Belle Marion Greener's parents separated, the children staying with their mother, who within a few years changed the surname to Greene and some years thereafter altered her maiden name from Fleet to Van Vliet. During this time the Greenes fully “passed” in the white world, and Belle da Costa Greene (who claimed for herself nonexistent Portuguese forebears) never acknowledged her African lineage....


Miner, Dorothy Eugenia (04 November 1904–15 May 1973), curator of manuscripts, librarian, and art historian, was born in New York City, the daughter of Roy Waldo Miner, a marine biologist, and Anna Elizabeth Carroll. In 1905 Miner’s father became a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York....


Winser, Beatrice (11 March 1869–14 September 1947), librarian and museum director, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Henry Jacob Winser, a journalist, and Edith Cox. Two months after his daughter’s birth, Henry Winser left the New York Times for a twelve-year term as U.S. consul general at the court of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg; the family later returned to New York City....