THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


55 Phillis Wheatley 1753?-1784
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral
London, Printed; Philadelphia, reprinted, and sold by Joseph Crukshank, 1786
Brought as a slave from Africa in 1761 at the age of eight, Phillis Wheatley was purchased by a prosperous tailor John Wheatley, who educated her. She mastered the English language to a high degree of proficiency within sixteen months, was writing verse at the age of thirteen in the styles of Pope and Gray, and became a literary sensation in Boston and subsequently in London. Before she returned to America in 1773, plans were made for publication of her book of poetry that was issued in London in the same year. After she was freed and married, ca. 1778, her health declined and her fame passed. It was not until two years after her death in 1784 that the book was first published in America, and only six copies of this edition are known.
Charles W. Mixer Fund

Collections and Treasures