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Episode 10: The Letters of Phillis Wheatley


     
   

In this episode, we are examining a group of letters written by the poet Phillis Wheatley to her friend Obour Tanner. These documents provide a window into a relationship between two young Black women during the age of the American Revolution. In Phillis’ letters to Obour, we catch a glimpse of their spiritual lives, their joint efforts to publish Wheatley’s books of poems, and the support they provided one another through hardship. 

View all 6 letters to Obour Tanner:
Letter from Phillis Wheatley to Obour Tanner, 19 July 1772
Letter from Phillis Wheatley to Obour Tanner, 30 October 1773
Letter from Phillis Wheatley to Obour Tanner, 21 March 1774
Letter from Phillis Wheatley to Obour Tanner, 6 May 1774
Letter from Phillis Wheatley to Obour Tanner, 29 May 1778
Letter from Phillis Peters [Phillis Wheatley] to Obour Tanner, 10 May 1779

View a digitized copy of Wheatley's book of poetry: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral

View Phillis Wheatley's writing desk.

Episode Special Guest:

Tara Bynum is an Assistant Professor of English & African American Studies at Iowa University. Dr. Bynum is the author of Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America.

This episodes uses materials from: 
Psychic by Ketsa (Commercial non-exclusive license through Ketsa)
Curious Nature by Ketsa (Commercial non-exclusive license through Ketsa)
Relinquish by Poddington Bear (Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported)

 

View a recent virtual event exploring new research on the life of Phillis Wheatley: