You can listen to Episode 3 of The WPHP Monthly Mercury, "Black Women and Female Abolitionists in Print", on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and other podcast apps, available via Buzzsprout.


This double episode of The WPHP Monthly Mercury is part of Romanticism on the Net’s special issue, “Romanticism, Interrupted.” The script has been peer-reviewed.


In this month’s double episode of The WPHP Monthly Mercury, “Black Women and Female Abolitionists in Print”, the entire team of the WPHP joins hosts Kandice Sharren and Kate Moffatt to speak to the Black Women’s and Abolitionist Print History Spotlight Series that we published on the WPHP website between June 19th and July 31st. 

In response to and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, this spotlight series is focused on the lives of, and books published by, three Black women authors during our period—Mary Prince, Phillis Wheatley, and Maria W. Stewart—as well as the ways in which white female abolitionists Lydia Maria Child and Elizabeth Heyrick exploited print’s powerful potential for eliminating slavery. The series also includes a spotlight on the anonymous 1808 novel, The Woman of Colour, and a spotlight on the one Black woman bookseller we have been able to identify thus far during our period—Ann Sancho, who we talked about in last month’s episode, “Women in the Imprints.” 

In this episode, each member of our team speaks to the spotlight that they authored. You’ll hear from: one of our WPHP Monthly Mercury hosts and Lead Editor, Kandice Sharren, about the role of authorship in her spotlight on the anonymous 1808 novel The Woman of Colour, “The Woman of Colour: Don’t Break the (Attribution) Chain”; our other podcast host and Lead Editor of Firms, Kate Moffatt, about the question of collecting and presenting racial data provoked by her spotlight on the Black woman bookseller, Ann Sancho, “A Search for Firm Evidence: Ann Sancho, Bookseller”; Sara Penn, research assistant, about the language of enslavement and the complexity of identifying author and genre for oral memoirs that arose while writing her spotlight, “The First Slave Narrative by a Woman: The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave”; Amanda Law, research assistant, about the systemic circumstances of publication for Phillis Wheatley, which Amanda discusses in detail in her spotlight “The Transatlantic Publication of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”; Victoria DeHart, research assistant, about women’s involvement in the abolition movement and the response to the radical branch of abolition known as “immediatism”, explained more fully in her spotlight “Elizabeth Heyrick, Mother of Immediatism”; our Project Director, Michelle Levy, about uneven digitization and the Black author Maria W. Stewart, and the impact of that digitization on her spotlight, “Maria W. Stewart, Activist for ‘African rights and liberty’”; and from Hanieh Ghaderi, research assistant, on her spotlight, co-written with Kandice Sharren, “Lydia Maria Child’s Radical Appeal,” about the experience of working on a feminist title from the 1830s as a current Gender Studies student. 

The episode examines the challenges faced and connections made in the writing of these spotlights, as well as the many learnings that both the spotlights and the creation of this episode prompted. From the frustrations with the gaps in records about Black women, to the transatlanticism of abolition, to the question of how to responsibly and ethically account for racial data in the WPHP, “Black Women and Female Abolitionists in Print” responds to the ethos of the current moment, centring the voices of Black people and the need for immediate and radical change, while acknowledging how bibliography can guide us to a clearer understanding of the interactions between gender, race, abolition, and print. 



Produced by: Kandice Sharren, Kate Moffatt, and Michelle Levy
Music: “Sweetest Bard”, from Ignatius Sancho’s Minuets, Cotillons & Country Dances for the Violin, Mandolin, German Flute, & Harpsichord Composed by an African (1767), from Played by Kandice Sharren.



We would like to thank the reviewers and editorial team of Romanticism on the Net for their expertise and willingness to take on this format. Our thanks also to Colleen Thiesen and Kate Mitas for helping us access Roderick Cave’s article, “The Stockdale Sisters Revisited.”


Black Women's and Abolitionist Print History Spotlight Series:

Black Women’s and Abolitionist Print History Spotlight Series [Series Introduction]
The Woman of Colour: Don’t Break the (Attribution) Chain” by Kandice Sharren
“A Search for Firm Evidence: Ann Sancho, Bookseller” by Kate Moffatt
“The First Slave Narrative by a Woman: The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave by Sara Penn
“The Transatlantic Publication of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Amanda Law
“Elizabeth Heyrick, Mother of Immediatism” by Victoria DeHart
“Maria W. Stewart, Activist for ‘African rights and liberty’” by Michelle Levy
Lydia Maria Child’s Radical Appeal” by Hanieh Ghaderi and Kandice Sharren


WPHP entries mentioned in this episode, in the order they are referenced:

Ann Sancho (firm, bookseller)
Ann Sancho (person, bookseller)
Mary Prince (person, author)
Phillis Wheatley (person, author)
The Woman of Colour (title)
Elizabeth Heyrick (person, author)
Lydia Maria Child (person, author)
Hobomok (title)
Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (title)
Maria W. Stewart (person, author)
Productions of Mrs. Maria W. Stewart (title)
Light and Shade (title)
The Aunt and the Niece (title)
Eversfield Abbey (title)
Ann and William Sancho (firm, booksellers)
Ignatius Sancho (person, author)
The History of Mary Prince, West Indian Slave (title, first edition)
The History of Mary Prince, West Indian Slave (title, second edition)
The History of Mary Prince, West Indian Slave (title, third edition)
Thomas Pringle (person, editor)
Susannah Moodie (person, editor)
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (title)
Ezekiel Russell (firm, publisher)
Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon (person)
Hannah More (person, author)
Immediate, not Gradual, Abolition (title)
Eliza Coltman (person, author)
Amelia Opie (person, author)
Meditations From The Pen Of Mrs. Maria W. Stewart (title)
Garrison and Knapp (firm, publisher)
Friends of Freedom and Virtue (firm, publisher)
The Oasis (title)
The Mother’s Book (title)
The Frugal Housewife (title)
Priscilla, Sarah, and Frances Stockdale (firm, publishers)
Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African (title)
Frances Anne Crewe (person, editor)
David Garrick (person, author)
Laurence Sterne (person, author)
Samuel Johnson (person, author)
Joseph Jekyll (person, author)



American Antiquarian Society Catalog. Accessed 30 July 2020. Accessed 30 July 2020.

Black Bibliography Project. Accessed 30 July 2020.

British Library. Accessed 30 July 2020.

Colored Conventions Project. Accessed 31 July 2020.

Digital Schomburg African American Women Writers of the 19th Century, New York Public Library. Accessed 30 July 2020.

Garside, Peter. “The English Novel in the Romantic Era: Consolidation and Dispersal.” The English Novel, 1770–1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles, edited by Peter Garside et al., vol. 2, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.

Maddison-MacFadyen, Margôt, ed. Mary Prince. Accessed 30 July 2020.

Maxted, Ian, ed. Exeter Working Papers in Book History. Accessed 30 July 2020.

Phillis Wheatley and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Accessed 31 July 2020.

The Abolition of Slavery Project, E2BN - East of England Broadband Network and MLA East of England. Accessed 30 July 2020.

The Manuscript Poems of Phillis Wheatley at AAS. Accessed 31 July 2020.

Toronto Public Library. Accessed 30 July 2020.


Works Cited:

Banner, Rachel. “Surface and Stasis: Re-Reading Slave Narrative via The History of Mary Prince.” Callaloo, vol. 36, no. 2, 2013, pp. 298–311. Crossref, doi:10.1353/cal.2013.0112.

Beattie, James. Elements of Moral Science. W. Creech and T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1807. Internet Archive,

Carey, Brycchan. “‘The extraordinary Negro’: Ignatius Sancho, Joseph Jekyll, and the Problem of Biography.” British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, No. 26, 2003, p. 1-14, Accessed 12 August 2020.

Cave, Roderick. “The Stockdale Sisters Revisited: Women Printers and Editors in the West Indies [With a rebuttal by John A. Lent].” Printing History (Old Series), vol. 10, no. 2, 1988, pp. 98–35.

Dominique, Lyndon J. “Introduction.” The Woman of Colour. Peterborough: Broadview, 2008.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Dublin, 1846,

Foreman, P. Gabrielle, et al. “Writing about Slavery/Teaching About Slavery: This Might Help” community-sourced document, 2018,

Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. London: Verso, 1993.

Hutchinson, Thomas, and Peter Orlando Hutchinson. Diary and Letters. Houghton, Mifflin, 1884. Internet Archive,

James, Felicity, and Rebecca Shuttleworth. “Susanna Watts and Elizabeth Heyrick:  Collaborative Campaigning in the Midlands, 1820–34.” Women’s Literary Networks and Romanticism: “A Tribe of Authoresses,” edited by Andrew O Winkles and Angela Rehbein, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017, pp. 47–72. 

Lynch, Deidre Shauna. The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1998. Print.

Mason, Julian. “‘Ocean’: A New Poem by Phillis Wheatley.” Early American Literature, vol. 34, no. 1, 1999, pp. 78–83.

McHenry, Elizabeth. Forgotten Readers Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies / Elizabeth McHenry. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.

Olney, James. “‘I was Born’: Slave Narratives, Their Status as Autobiography and as Literature.” Callaloo, no. 20, Winter, 1984, pp. 46-73.

Rezek, Joseph. “The Print Atlantic: Phillis Wheatley, Ignatius Sancho, and the Cultural Significance of the Book.” Early African American Print Culture, edited by Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, pp. 19–39. Project MUSE,

Salih, Sara. Representing Mixed Race in Jamaica and England from the Abolition Era to the Present. New York: Routledge, 2011. 

Sancho, Ignatius. Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho, an African. In two volumes. To which are prefixed, Memoirs of his Life. Frances Anne Crewe, ed., and Joseph Jekyll, Memoirs. London: printed for the subscribers, 1782, Accessed 25 June 2020.

Taylor, Diana. The Archive and the Repertoire. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.

Whelan, Timothy. Other British Voices: Women, Poetry, and Religion, 1766-1840. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.


Further Reading:

Baugh, Victoria. “Mixed-Race Heiresses in Early-Nineteenth-Century Literature: Sanditon ’s Miss Lambe in Context.” European Romantic Review, vol. 29, no. 4, July 2018, pp. 449–58. Crossref, doi:10.1080/10509585.2018.1487373.

Bowie, Rian E. “Discovering the Woman in the Text: Early African American Print, Gender Studies, and the Twenty-First-Century Classroom.” Legacy, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016, p. 8.

Daut, Marlene L. Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central,

De Jong, Mary G., editor. Sentimentalism in Nineteenth-Century America: Literary and Cultural Practices. Madison, New Jersey: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013.

Gardner, Eric. “Accessing Early Black Print.” Legacy, vol. 33, no. 1, 2016, p. 25. 

Gardner, Eric. Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2009. 

Foreman, P. Gabrielle. “A Riff, A Call, and A Response: Reframing the Problem That Led to Our Being Tokens in Ethnic and Gender Studies; or, Where Are We Going Anyway and with Whom Will We Travel?” Legacy, vol. 30, no. 2, 2013, p. 306.

Reed, Jennifer. “Moving Fortunes: Caribbean Women’s Marriage, Mobility, and Money in the Novel of Sentiment.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 31, no. 3, Mar. 2019, pp. 509–28.

Taylor, Jordan E. “Enquire of the Printer: Newspaper Advertising and the Moral Economy of the North American Slave Trade, 1704–1807.” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 18, no. 3, 2020, pp. 287–323.

Walters, Wendy W., editor. Archives of the Black Atlantic: Reading Between Literature and History. London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2013.

White, Deborah Gray. “Mining the Forgotten: Manuscript Sources for Black Women’s History.” The Journal of American History, vol. 74, no. 1, June 1987, p. 237. Crossref, doi:10.2307/1908622.


This podcast draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.