At night keep watch and see a Cynthia bright | And her commission for to guide the night— | See how the stars when they do sing his praise | Witness his essence in celestial Lays— “Atheism,” Phillis Wheatley, 1769

The Poetry of Phillis Wheatley

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley was first published in London on 1 September 1773. The title page features an engraving of Wheatley done after the above portrait by an enslaved man, Scipio Moorhead. Materials provided at the beginning of the book included an “attestation,” signed by 18 prominent Bostonians, confirming that a young, enslaved female from Africa had written the poems.

Read more about Phillis Wheatley and view the frontispiece engraving of the MHS’s copy of Wheatley’s book here. Read her poem “Atheism” here.

Join us this Thursday, 14 March 2024, for the book launch of Wheatley at 250: Black Women Poets Re-Imagine the Verse of Phillis Wheatley Peters. Learn more and register here.

MHS News

Call for Applicants: MHS Undergraduate Library Residency

Do you collect stories about your family’s history? Have you ever wondered about the evolution of your neighborhood over time? Have you helped kids with social studies assignments for school? Do you enjoy historical documentaries, television series set in the past, or reading historical fiction? A career in public history might be for you! The MHS seeks applicants for the second cycle of its Undergraduate Library Residency program. Undergraduate Library Residents provide services to researchers who make use of the Society’s collections. They also complete at least one special project designed in collaboration with MHS staff and gain a broad understanding of the public history and archival field through background reading, site visits, and professional development opportunities.

The deadline to apply is 15 April 2024. Learn more here.

Object of History Podcast Relics, Part 1: Corporeal Remains, Available 15 March

The Object of History podcast Season 3, Episode 5, Relics, Part 1: Corporeal Remains explores blood-soaked towel fragments and a fishhook made from human bone.

This episode releases on Friday, 15 March. Listen to it here

Upcoming Events


Thursday, 14 March | 6:00 PM

Wheatley in the 21st Century: A Reading & Book Launch

Danielle Legros Georges, Artress Bethany White, Florence Ladd, and Janice Lowe.

Register to attend in person.

Register to attend online.


Tuesday, 19 March | 5:00 PM

The Disappearance of Sarah Simmons: Escape Notices & the Racial Imperatives of the Carceral State

Micah Khater, University of California, Berkeley, with comment by Cheryl Hicks, University of Delaware.

Register to attend in person.

Register to attend online.


Thursday, 21 March | 5:00 PM

Fitting Form to Argument: Developing a Digital Publication for the Complexity of Harlem in Disorder

Stephen Robertson, George Mason University, with comment by Jessica Marie Johnson, Johns Hopkins University.

Register to attend online.

Saturday, 23 March, 11:00 AM–3:00 PM: NHD In-Person Feedback Session with Suffolk & Boston University. This is a National History Day event for students.

Saturday, 23 March, 2:15 PM: Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Ceremony with Andrew M. Wehrman, Central Michigan University, and William Fowler, Northeastern University. This is an award ceremony.

Thursday, 28 March, 5:00 PM: “The Permanent Prize for Nerve”: Examining Women’s Postwar Battles with the US Veteran’s Bureau with Bridget E. Keown, University of Pittsburgh, with comment by Beth Linker, University of Pennsylvania. This is a seminar.

Monday, 1 April, 6:00 PM: Chasing Beauty: The Life of Isabella Stewart Gardner with Natalie Dykstra, in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS President. This is a program.

Tuesday, 2 April, 5:00 PM: A Renegades’ History of the Revolutionary Frontier: Contesting Race & Nation on the Borderlands of the New United States with John William Nelson, Texas Tech University, with comment by Colin Calloway, Dartmouth College. This is a seminar.

Wednesday, 10 April, 6:00 PM: Italian Influence on Boston's Culture, Economy & Politics with Lawrence DiCara, civic leader, and James Pasto, historian. This is a program.

Thursday, 11 April, 5:00 PM: Reconstructing the Artisan Labor Economy in Post-Emancipation South Carolina with Anne E. Keith, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with comment by Hilary Green, Davidson College. This is a seminar.

See full calendar.

Looking for More?

Registration and Events


Visit for more information and to register.

Interested in Past Programs?


If you missed a program or would like to revisit the material presented, please visit

Click below to view the video, Necessary Trouble: A Conversation with Drew Gilpin Faust, with Drew Gilpin Faust, in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS President. Enjoy more videos by subscribing to the MHS YouTube channel after you view the video.

Exhibition and Library Hours

The Dye is cast: Interests & Ideals That Motivated the Boston Tea Party. Learn more about the exhibition and explore items from our collection related to the Tea Party


Our galleries and library are open Monday and Wednesday through Friday, from 9:30 AM to 4:45 PM, Tuesday from 9:30 AM to 7:45 PM, and Saturday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (the galleries and library open at 12:00 PM the second Tuesday of the month). Please note that the last admission is 45 minutes prior to closing.

Please check our hours and admissions for hours, building closings, and other events.

An advance appointment is strongly encouraged. Please log in to your Portal1791 account to select your preferred visit dates.


Set up an appointment via Zoom or live chat with a member of our reference staff. 


Learn more at

2024 Making History Gala

Join us for an unforgettable evening on 6 June 2024, with featured speaker Doris Kearns Goodwin at the iconic Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. Visit to purchase tickets.  

The MHS Fund and Membership

Our Members make it possible for us to offer an array of complimentary services including admission to our exhibition galleries and library, online access to our collections and digital editions, and onsite and remote reference services for all. Membership begins with a fully tax-deductible contribution of $250 or more to the MHS Fund. All Members enjoy a full year of social, cultural, and educational experiences, including invitations to our annual Holiday Party, FREE program registration, and Member Week perks. Learn more and join today!
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