Phillis Wheatley

National Portrait Gallery

Phillis Wheatley

Artist
Unidentified Artist
Sitter
Phillis Wheatley, c. 1753 - 5 Dec 1784
Exhibition Label
Born The Gambia, Africa
Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book and the first American woman to earn a living from her writing, no small feat considering that she came to the colonies as a slave. Although most slaves had no opportunity for an education, within two years of Wheatley's purchase in 1761, she had learned to read and begun to write poetry. Her book Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), published in London, drew the praise of Washington, Franklin, and Voltaire and helped Wheatley gain her freedom. The frontispiece engraving emphasized Wheatley’s demure appearance and creative intelligence.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
1773
Object number
NPG.77.2
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Type
Book
Medium
Engraving on paper
Dimensions
Image: 12.8 x 10.1 cm (5 1/16 x 4")
Sheet: 17.6 x 12.8 cm (6 15/16 x 5 1/16")
Book (open to 90%): 18.4 × 19.7 cm (7 1/4 × 7 3/4")
National Portrait Gallery
Topic
Printed Material\Book
Costume\Headgear\Hat\Cap
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Table\Writing table
Equipment\Drafting & Writing Implements\Writing implement\Pen\Quill
Equipment\Drafting & Writing Implements\Inkstand
Print
Printed Material\Papers\Letter
Illustration
Phillis Wheatley: Female
Phillis Wheatley: Literature\Writer\Poet
Phillis Wheatley: Society and Social Change\Enslaved person
Portrait
Record ID
npg_NPG.77.2
GUID (Link to Original Record)
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm4acefa7a6-6abc-4571-9304-39deb9738e64