Thomas Nast

1840 - 1902
Illustrator, Cartoonist
Origin: Germany
Born: September 27, 1840, Landau, Germany
Died: December 7, 1902, Guayaquil, Ecuador

A famous caricaturist of the nineteenth century, Thomas Nast is considered the father of American political cartooning. At age six, he emigrated with his family from Germany to the United States. He studied with Alfred Fredericks and Thoedore Kaufmann in New York and briefly attended the National Academy of Design. Throughout his career as a draftsman and cartoonist, he drew for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Harper's Weekly, New York Illustrated News, and Illustrated London News. Nast's work covered serious political and social issues, especially during the Civil War when President Lincoln described Nast as "the Union's best recruiting sergeant." From 1869 to 1871, he relentlessly attacked corrupt politicians in New York with his cartoons, spurring a public campaign that broke the Boss Tweed Ring conspiracy. By the 1880s, Nast's popularity as a cartoonist had declined, and he turned his attention to painting and illustration. He also published a book titled Thomas Nast's Christmas Drawings for the Human Race. In 1902, Nast served as an emissary to Ecuador but died six months later from an outbreak of yellow fever.

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Jumbo and the American Eagle
n.d., Ink Drawing
Thomas Nast
Germany, 1840 - 1902