Mary P. Parsons letter to Belle da Costa Greene, 11 February 1921

Three years earlier, in February 1921, the world commemorated the 100th anniversary of Keats’s death. Though there was no display marking this occasion at the Library, Belle Greene entertained numerous requests for loans or photography of the Morgan’s Keats collection for various centenary exhibitions. The Librarian of the Morristown Library, Mary P. Parsons, wrote Greene to request photography of a few holdings from the Morgan for inclusion in a Keats exhibition scheduled for February 23rd. The largest centenary show took place at Harvard, which featured rarely or never-before-displayed manuscripts from the two important private Keats collections in America, owned by Amy Lowell and J.P. Morgan, Jr. Correspondence with Harvard in the Morgan Archives documents the list of objects on loan for this exhibition, including the two Keats letters acquired by Greene early in her career, “Ode to Psyche,” the sonnet on Fanny Brawne titled “The day is gone and all its sweets are gone!”, and Shelley’s letter presenting Adonais to Joseph Severn.

Through her acumen in collection development, her collaborative work with scholars, and her efforts at outreach and exhibition design, Belle Greene played an instrumental role in making the Morgan’s Keats collection one of the best known in the world.

Mary P. Parsons, typed letter to Belle da Costa Greene, 11 February 1921. ARC 1310. Archives of the Morgan Library & Museum .