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Stephen K. Yasinow Collection of Thomas Nast Cartoons
1863-1882 (Bulk 1873-1875)
 PR 288

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Catherine Newton.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on March 04, 2016
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical/Historical note

Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was a renowned nineteenth century political cartoonist. His work was highly influential in American politics at the time and is still regarded as a valued record of American history. His widely circulated cartoons are credited with helping to elect President Grant and to re-elect President Lincoln. He popularized the famous donkey and elephant symbols of the Democratic and Republican American political parties, along with the images of Santa Claus, Tammany Tiger, and Uncle Sam.

Nast moved from Germany to New York in 1846 as a young boy. His professional career began at 15 years of age, when despite having little formal training in drawing, he became an illustrator for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly. He later traveled to Italy to report on the Garibaldi campaign for the  Illustrated London News. Nast began his career at  Harper's Weekly during the summer of 1862, following the onset of the Civil War. While working at  Harper's Weekly, he gained a reputation as an outspoken supporter of the Union and the abolition of slavery. Following the Civil War, his work focused largely on exposing corrupt politicians, particularly William M. Tweed, who was arrested in 1872. He left  Harper's Weekly in 1886 and began serving as consul general in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1902, where he died of yellow fever.