Venus


"Venus", an enslaved woman, appears to have been purchased by Harvard President Benjamin Wadsworth in 1726 from Mr. Bullfinch, sailmaker of Boston. Wadsworth does not identify her by name, but only refers to her as "a negro wench, thought to be about twenty years of age."

The records of the Church of Christ of Cambridge in New England have two references to a black woman named Venus, whom we suspect may be the same person:

Baptismal record. 1740, August 17, Venus. Negro Servt of Madm Wadfworth.
Death record. May 4, 1825. Venus Whittemore (black woman) upwd of 100.

Venus Whittemore also is a party to complex legal case, related to the question of financial support for her after an attempt to sell her at auction in 1792; she dies in the Cambridge Almhouse in 1825.