In Pursuit of a Vision > Case 1 > Thomas > Phillis's Poem


The Details:

Phillis Wheatley. Phillis’s Poem on the Death of Mr. Whitefield. On a sheet with Bedlam Garland. Together with the Spinning Wheel. Boston: Isaiah Thomas, 1770. [catalog record]

The Story:

Phillis Wheatley was the first African-American to compose a book of poems. An enslaved person in the family of merchant John Wheatley, she was educated and encouraged in her literary efforts. Her poem on the death of George Whitefield, the prominent English clergyman, was written when she was just seventeen years old. Thomas imposed the poem in the printing forme with two unrelated broadsides to save printing costs.

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