Nast, Thomas

Nast, Thomas

biographical name


Thomas Nast, self-portrait etching, 1892—Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born Sept. 27, 1840, Landau, Baden—died Dec. 7, 1902, Guayaquil, Ecua.) German-born U.S. political cartoonist. He arrived in the U.S. at six, and from 1862 to 1886 he worked as a cartoonist for Harper's Weekly. His cartoons in support of the Northern cause in the American Civil War were so effective that Abraham Lincoln called him “our best recruiting sergeant.” Many of his most effective cartoons were attacks on the New York City political machine of William Magear Tweed in the 1870s; one led to Tweed's identification and arrest in Spain. Nast originated the Republican Party's elephant, the Democratic Party's donkey, and one of the most popular images of Santa Claus. Left destitute by the failure of a brokerage house, he was appointed U.S. consul in Ecuador, where he died.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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