Timeline of Thomas Nast’s Life
Born in Landau, Germany, on September 26. His father, Joseph Thomas, held liberal political veiws and worked as a trombonist in a military band.
Immigrated to the United States with his mother, Appolonia Abriss, and his sister, Catherine. The family lived in New York City where his father joined them in 1849.
Studied art with Theodore Kaufmann, a German painter who specialized in historical scenes.
Worked at the Thomas Jefferson Bryant Gallery of “Christian art” where he also copied the historical paintings in the collection as a part of his artistic training.
Hired as a reportorial artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News.
Joined the staff of New York Illustrated News.
Sailed to England to cover a prizefight for the New York Illustrated News; then traveled to Italy to report for the New York Illustrated News and the London Illustrated News on Giuseppe Garabaldi’s military campaign in Sicily during the Italian Revolution.
Returned to the United States and married Sarah (Sallie) Edwards on September 26.
Began working for Harper’s Weekly as a freelance artist.
Created his first Santa Claus drawing, “Santa Claus in Camp,” for
publication in Harper’s Weekly on January 3.
Premiered the Grand Caricaturama theatrical presentation, thirty-three eight-by-twelve foot murals depicting American history, in New York and Boston.
Began his cartoon campaign against William Magear Tweed, boss of New York City’s Tammany Hall, and his associates with “A Respectable Screen Covers a Multitude of Thieves” in the October 10 issue of Harper’s Weekly.
Moved his family to Morristown, New Jersey, from New York City, after receiving threats from the Tweed Ring.
Created five color caricatures of American politicians for Vanity Fair as the first American artist invited to contribute to the prestigious London magazine.
Produced the first cartoon to use the elephant as a symbol for the Republican Party in “The Third Term Panic” published in Harper’s Weekly on November 7, 1874.
Received Silver Army Canteen as the gift of 3,500 members of the Army and Navy in gratitude for “the patriotic use he has made of his rare abilities as the artist of the people.”
Refused to back Republican presidential candidate James Blaine, and was abandoned by many of his long-time Republican friends.
Left Harper’s Weekly after choosing not to sign his renewal contract due to conflicts with the magazine’s management.
Purchased New York Gazette, an unprofitable weekly newspaper, and renamed it Nast’sWeekly.
Suffered major financial problems due to the financial failure of Nast’s Weekly in March.
Received several commissions for paintings based on historical subjects, and returned to his original artistic ambition of painting.
Appointed Consul General by President Theodore Roosevelt to the commercial Ecuadorian port of Guayaquil. He died there of yellow fever on December 7, and was buried in Ecuador.
Reburied in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.