Phillis Wheatley


Phillis Wheatley’s portrait from the frontispiece of her collection of poems, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” likely engraved by Scipio Moorhead, 1773. Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images

Perceptions and interpretations of Phillis Wheatley's life and work have shifted since the 18th century. This episode examines Wheatley's published writing while enslaved, and how her place in the world of black literature rose, fell, and rose again.

Tracy's Research:

  • Brooks, Joanna. “Our Phillis, Ourselves.” American Literature (2010) 82 (1): 1-28. Duke University Press. https://read.dukeupress.edu/american-literature/article/82/1/1/4787/Our-Phillis-Ourselves
  • Carretta, Vincent. “Phillis Wheatley: Researching a Life.” Historical Journal of Massachusetts. 43.2 (Summer 2015): p64+. From Academic OneFile.
  • December Meeting, 1877. Letter of Mr. Theodore Dwight; Extracts from Journal of C. J. Stratford; Signers of Declaration of Independence; Washington Benevolent Association Author(s): Robert C. Winthrop, Ellis Ames and R. C. Waterston. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 15 (1876 - 1877). Massachusetts Historical Society. Via JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25079521
  • “From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Reed, 10 February 1776,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified February 1, 2018, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-03-02-0209. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 3, 1 January 1776 – 31 March 1776, ed. Philander D. Chase. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988, pp. 286–291.] https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-03-02-0209#GEWN-03-03-02-0209-fn-0010-ptr
  • “From George Washington to Phillis Wheatley, 28 February 1776,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified February 1, 2018, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-03-02-0281. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 3, 1 January 1776 – 31 March 1776, ed. Philander D. Chase. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988, p. 387.] https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-03-02-0281
  • Gates, Henry Louis Jr. “Mister Jefferson and the Trials of Phillis Wheatley.” National Endowment for the Humanities. 2002. https://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/henry-louis-gates-jr-lecture
  • Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. "PHILLIS WHEATLEY ON TRIAL." The New Yorker, 20 Jan. 2003, p. 082. General OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A96703278/GPS?u=som&sid=GPS&xid=79233da3. Accessed 21 Feb. 2018.
  • George Washington Papers, Series 3, Varick Transcripts, 1775-1785, Subseries 3H, Personal Correspondence, 1775-1783, Letterbook 1: May 31, 1775 - Dec. 25, 1779. https://www.loc.gov/resource/mgw3h.001/?q=wheatley&sp=13&st=text
  • Johnson, James Weldon. “James Weldon Johnson's 1922 Preface to The Book of American Negro Poetry.” http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/johnson/preface1.htm
  • Kendrick, Robert. “Re-membering America: Phyllis Wheatley's intertextual epic.” African American Review. 30.1 (Spring 1996): p71+. From General OneFile.
  • Loving, MaryCatherine. “Uncovering Subversion in Phillis Wheatley's Signature Poem: "On being brought from AFRICA to AMERICA.’” Journal of African American Studies. 20.1 (Mar. 2016). Via General OneFile.
  • Michals, Debra. "Phillis Wheatley." National Women's History Museum. 2015. www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/phillis-wheatley.
  • Notable Black American Women. “Phillis Wheatley.” From U.S. History In Context. Gale, 1992.
  • Nott, Walt. “From ‘uncultivated Barbarian’ to ‘poetical genius’: the public presence of Phillis Wheatley.” MELUS. 18.3 (Fall 1993): p21+. From General OneFile.
  • O’Neale, Sondra A. “Phillis Wheatley.” Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/phillis-wheatley
  • Pemberton, Ebeneezer and Phillis Wheatley. “Heaven the residence of the saints: a sermon occasioned by the sudden, and much lamented death of the Rev. George Whitefield, A.M. chaplain to the Right-Honourable the Countess of Huntington, delivered at the Thursday lecture in Boston, in America, Oct. 11, 1770.” Via Google Books. https://books.google.com/books?id=AQFaAAAAMAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  • Wheatley, Phillis. “Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley, a Native African and a Slave. Dedicated to the Friends of the Africans.” Odell, Margaretta Matilda, editor. Via University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/wheatley/wheatley.html
  • Wheatley, Phillis. “On Being Brought from Africa to America.” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45465/on-being-brought-from-africa-to-america
  • Wheatley, Phillis. “Poems on Various Subjects.” 1773. Via Bartleby. http://www.bartleby.com/150/100.html
  • Wigginton, Caroline. “A Chain of Misattribution: Phillis Wheatley, Mary Whateley, and "An Elegy on Leaving".” Early American Literature, Vol. 47, No. 3 (2012). Via JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41705695
  • Zuck, Rochelle Raineri. “Poetic economies: Phillis Wheatley and the production of the black artist in the early Atlantic world.” Ethnic Studies Review. 33.2 (Winter 2010): p143+. From General OneFile.

Topics in this Podcast: poets, U.S. history, American Revolution, racism, slavery, women, biographies, black history