Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book and the first American woman to earn a living from her writing. This was no small feat, considering that she came to America as a slave. In 1761 the Wheatley family in Boston purchased her. A small child then, she was called Phillis after the name of the ship that transported her from Africa. Unlike most slaves, Wheatley had an opportunity for an education, and soon learned to read and began to write poetry. An elegy written for the celebrated evangelical minister George Whitefield caught audiences' attention in Boston and London, and prompted an English publisher to print her collection, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773). This work drew the praise of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Voltaire, and contributed to her later manumission.