Thomas Nast

Nast, Thomas, 1840–1902, American caricaturist, illustrator, and painter, b. Landau, Germany. He was brought to the United States in 1846. He began his career as a draftsman for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly. He was sent to England by the New York Illustrated News, served (1860) as artist correspondent in Garibaldi's campaign, contributing sketches to English, French, and American papers, and attracted wide attention with his cartoons of the Civil War, published in Harper's Weekly. He is best known for his clever and forceful political and personal cartoons, which were instrumental in breaking the corrupt Tweed Ring in New York City. It was Nast who created the tiger, the elephant, and the donkey as political symbols of Tammany Hall, the Republican party, and the Democratic party. Nast was also an illustrator of note and a painter in oil. He died at Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he was American consul general.

See biography by F. D. Halloran (2013); study by M. Keller (1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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