John Greenleaf Whittier, circa 1860.
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Ambrotype portrait,head and shoulders.

Credit: Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department

Born to Quaker parents in Massachusetts, John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) edited an abolitionist newspaper in Philadelphia in the late 1830s, then left the city after witnessing the burning of Pennsylvania Hall in 1838. By the 1840s Whittier was one of the nation's most celebrated poets and influential abolitionists. In 1872 he published "The Pennsylvania Pilgrim," a long poem on William Pastorius that brought the previously little-known story of the German Quakers' 1688 protest against slavery to a national audience.

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