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Phillis Wheatley

Object Details

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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Date
1773
Object number
NPG.77.2
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
Artist
Unidentified Artist
Sitter
Phillis Wheatley, c. 1753 - 5 Dec 1784
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
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")
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Type
Book
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm4acefa7a6-6abc-4571-9304-39deb9738e64
Record ID
npg_NPG.77.2

Phillis Wheatley

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