Accomplishing Something of Definite Value

Greene had high standards for her employees. The director’s job often was not easy. When facing difficulties, Greene treated her colleagues with respect while considering the needs of the collection and those it served. These two letters sent to library assistants, one terminating Helen Crowe and the other promoting Meta Harrsen, reveal the qualities and ambition Greene sought in the people she hired. She even articulates a larger vision for the Morgan as a research library, an effort made by the staff “not only for herself but for the students of this country.”

Belle da Costa Greene (1879–1950)
Letter to Helen Crowe, 1 April 1925
Letter to Meta Harrsen, 21 October 1922
Archives of the Morgan Library & Museum