Phillis Wheatley was eight or nine years old in 1761 when she arrived in Boston on the slave ship Phillis and was sold to the Wheatley family. She became an accomplished poet and traveled to London, where her poems were first published in 1773. She was freed the same year, but her early success waned and she died in obscurity and poverty in 1784. The Historical Society holds approximately one half of her few surviving manuscripts.
Bequest of Robert Cassie Waterston, 1899.