Phillis Wheatley, ca. 1773


Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.
previous image return to thumbnails next image

If you are interested in using this image, please consult Acknowledging the Website.

Image Reference
I024

Source
Frontispiece of Wheatley's collection, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773). (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-628/40054)

Comments
Copperplate engraving. Caption reads: "Phillis Wheatley, Negro servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston." Born in present-day Gambia around 1753, little is known of Wheatley's early life. When 7 or 8 years old, she was kidnapped and shipped from the Gambia to Boston; her purchasers named her Phillis after the ship that brought her to Massachusetts. Living in their household as a servant, she was permitted to learn to read, and not long after began writing poetry; her first published poem appeared in 1767. She left no account of her life in Africa or the middle passage, and her life ended sadly in Boston in 1784. Her portrait was done when she was about 20 years old.