Title Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773
AuthorPhillis Wheatley (ca. 1753-1784)
ObjectBook, First Edition

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773

Phillis Wheatley was the first published African American woman poet. Born in Gambia around 1753, she was sold into slavery and transported to the New World on the slave ship Phillis, after which she was named. John Wheatley purchased Phillis in Boston and educated her. She mastered Latin and Greek, and began writing poetry when she was 13 years old. Many doubted Wheatley’s abilities, and she had to endure inspection by Boston notables, including John Hancock. In 1773, she finally received her due as a poet, earning recognition from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Wheatley’s was only the third book of poetry to be published by an American woman.