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"Belle of the Books" to be performed in Yulman Theater




“Belle of the Books,” a one-woman play about the life of Bella da Costa Greene, will be performed in Yulman Theater Oct 12 and 13. The one-hour performance begins at 7:30 p.m.

The play is open to the campus community and general public. Tickets are free, but must be reserved at the Yulman box office (388-6545).

Da Costa Greene (1883-1950) was a prominent African-American librarian to J.P. Morgan and the first director of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City. A charismatic figure in the book and art world and a world-renowned expert in illuminated manuscripts and incunabula, she corresponded with John Bigelow (Class of 1835) about his various gifts to the library and her role there. Several of the letters are in the Schaffer Library’s Special Collections.

There will be a panel discussion of the play’s themes, as well as class visits by the author, Juliane Hiam, and Andi Bohs, the actress in the lead role. Hiam wrote and directed the award-winning independent film Dead Silence, starring Danny Aiello, Sally Kirkland and Maureen Stapleton. Her plays, mostly set in the 19th and early 20th century, have been produced in the Berkshires, the Capital Region and in New York City at the Metropolitan Playhouse.  Her play, “Paris Unlaced!” will appear at Theatre Row at Broadway and 42nd Street next month.

“Belle of the Books,”part of an ongoing celebration of the library’s 50th anniversary, is co-sponsored and produced by the Department of Theater and Dance and Schaffer Library. Schaffer opened in 1961, the first permanent home for the College’s vast collection of books, periodicals and treasured documents. Before that, the library shared space in the Nott Memorial and other places on campus.

The anniversary is also being marked with an ongoing exhibit in Schaffer Library, “Union’s Library” A Home of Its Own.”

For more details on these events and others surrounding the 50th anniversary, click here.

To read a recent story in the Daily Gazette on the library’s 50th anniversary, click here.