Thomas Nast. "A Merry Christmas."
New York: Harper's Weekly, Supplement, January 3, 1880. 11 x 9 1/4. Folio. Wood engraving. Very good condition.
Harper's Weekly, a newspaper in the last half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, presented a mixture of news stories, gossip, poetry, and most notably, wood-engraved illustrations. Amongst the most famous of the illustrators who worked for the magazine was Thomas Nast, "father" of American political cartoonists. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Nast became the most significant illustrator of American political and social issues, and his pointed images exerted a great impact on public opinion. More than a mere cartoonist, Nast was an innovator of icons, popularizing or instituting many now familiar subjects such as the Republican elephant, the Democratic donkey, John Bull, Uncle Sam, and Columbia. Perhaps his most lasting creation was his interpretation of Santa Claus, modeled from Clement Moore's Visit from Saint Nicholas, which persists as our present-day image of St. Nick himself.