Here we see Thomas Nast’s ever enduring interpretation of Santa Clause modeled from Clement Moore’s Visit from Saint Nicholas. Drawing inspiration from his native German Saint Nicholas Nast helped the American people believe in a Santa Clause who kindness and generosity brought with it elves, reindeer pulling sleds, Santas workshop, using chimneys to deliver gifts and even the naughty-nice list. Over a twenty year period starting in 1863 when Nast’s first Santa appeared in Harper’s Weekly , he developed
the portly elf- like image we all love today.
Thomas Nast ( 1846- 1902 ) was one of Harper’s Weekly most important illustrators. His political cartoons were extremely influential in the American political arena particularly between the years 1868 to 1886. Following his death in 1902 he was thought by some to be the ” Father of American Caricature. ” He had created the Santa Claus and Uncle Sam images we are still familiar with today, He had devised the Tammy Tiger and popularized the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party and the elephant for the Republican Party. He was known as a political cartoonist with impeccable professional integrity. His images are great historical statements of our political history.