Amy Lowell letter to Belle da Costa Greene, 12 February 1925

In February 1925 Lowell completed her book and sent a copy to Greene, inscribing it “Belle da Costa Greene, with the grateful regards of Amy Lowell.” Lowell’s preface acknowledges the importance of private collections to her research, giving pride of place to the Morgan:

To Mr. J.P. Morgan of New York, owner of the Morgan Library, which he has just formally put at the service of students, but which has in fact always been at their service, assisted by the expert advice of its remarkable librarian, Miss Belle da Costa Greene, I am deeply obliged. Through Miss Greene’s kindness I have had free access to the Library for the past four years, and have been permitted to make such transcripts of manuscripts as I needed.

In a letter accompanying the gifted volumes (one for the Morgan’s reference collection, one for Greene), Lowell expands her thanks:

I can never thank you enough for the kindness and consideration you showed me about the Keats material, and all I can say is that had it not been for the Morgan Library Collection, the book could never have contained all the new things it now has. I hope you will find leisure to read it and that you will enjoy it.

Greene’s response is warm and grateful:

You have simply overwhelmed me in presenting me (personally) with a copy of your “John Keats”. I had stupidly thought to wait until I was able to read every word of it, before writing you—but I find myself continuously going back and re-reading portions of especial interest and importance to me—and so have not yet finished Volume One! And I feel that I cannot allow any further time to elapse before I thank you, truly from my heart, for both your wonderful mention of me in your preface and for the gift of this really great book.—which will always remain one of my most treasured possessions.

Amy Lowell would tragically die a few months later, in May 1925, but her John Keats has endured as one of the most important early twentieth-century biographies of the poet. The copy she gave Belle Greene sits on the shelves of the Morgan’s reference collection today.

Amy Lowell, typed letter to Belle da Costa Greene, 12 February 1925. MA 4098. Archives of the Morgan Library & Museum.