Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), American Abolitionist Leader

In cataloging the Seelye-Eggleston Collection here at the Society I came across a carte-de-viste photograph of Wendell Phillips. It piqued my interest as I recognized his name as a famous American Abolitionist.


Wendell Phillips
Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) Carte-de viste photograph.   2011.003.0155


Wendell Phillips was born in Boston, Massachusetts November 29, 1811 the son of John Phillips and Sarah Walley. He was a direct descendant of the Rev. George Phillips who emigrated to Massachusetts in in 1630. Phillips was schooled at Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard in 1831. He later attended Harvard Law school graduating in 1833. In 1834 he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar and opened a practice in Boston.

Wendell became an abolitionist in 1836 at the urging of William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the abolitionist newspaper “The Liberator”.  He was described as a leading figure of the abolitionist movement from 1850 to 1865.

Phillips was an early advocate of women’s rights. In the July 3, 1846 “Liberator” he called for securing the right of women to property, earnings and the right to vote.

In later years, Wendell Phillips was active in efforts to gain equal rights for Native Americans pointing out that the Fifteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution granted citizenship to Indians.

On the back of the photograph was his signature.


Wendell Phillips autograph. 2011.003.0155

The autograph was signed on Nov. 22, 1873 at Boston, Mass. Apparently these were sold by Warren’s 289 Washington Street, Boston, Mass. I was able to authenticate his signature from a copy of his signature found online.

David J Holmes Autographs of Hamilton, N.Y. had a signed carte-de-viste photograph for sale in 2016 for $250.00.


edited by Tom Lynch, Collections Manager

contact: [email protected]


Source: Seelye Eggleston Collection # 30

Warren County NY Historical Society.