Anne Bradstreet & Phillis Wheatly

Anne Bradstreet was the first English writer in North America. She was born in Northampton, England on March 20, 1612. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Dudley a steward because of her family’s position Anne was able to become educated. She was tutored in history, several different languages and in literature.  Anne married at 16 years old and not long after her family decided to migrate to America. She is a well known puritan during this time period in American literature. She was the first female writer in the British North Americans colonies to have a published works. The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, was her first volume of poetry to be published in 1650. The first book she wrote was about the struggles she went through as a puritan wife. Anne was a very devoted mother and wife but also had a deep commitment to her faith and religious beliefs you can see this in some of her poems.  Anne died on September 16, 1672 she was 60 years old.

Phillis Wheatley was the first African American women to have a published piece of literature. She was born in West Africa on May 8, 1753 and was sold into slavery at only the age of seven. As a slave she was transported to America where she was sold to the Wheatley family. This family decided to teach her how to read and write which was very uncommon most slave owners did not do this Phillis was very lucky. She was intended to be a servant to the John Wheatley’s wife . Phillis was of poor health and Susan(wife) as a result did not train her to be a servant and decided to help her gain more intelligence. Susan gave her lessons in theology English, Latin and Greek, and also teaching of ancient history about mythology and literature. They began to recognize her talent in poetry and encouraged her to do more. At age 12 she published her first poem. In 1773 she published her first and only book called, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Phillis’s work was first printed in the Newport Mercury, later other poems were also added.  Susan helped her with the fiances.  When her book was first published she had 17 Boston men to sign in the back of the book to prove that she indeed wrote this poems as an African American Women. Later in her life she became a free slave and got married but had many problems with money. She struggled on poverty. Phillis died on December 5, 1784.

Phillis Wheatley

I decided to give a brief history on these women because they are an important part of our development of literature. I also wanted to know  more information about them because they are very important women that many people do not know about.


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