THOMAS NAST IN HISTORY: America's Greatest Nineteenth-Century Cartoonist

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America’s greatest 19th Century Cartoonist, Thomas Nast is the one chiefly responsible for our Christmas vision of a jolly, red-suited, and plump Santa Claus. But more than a playful artist, Jay G. Williams suggests that Nast is an iconographer, building within pictorial images the presence of the sacred as he popularized political and cultural symbols like Lady Columbia. Copiously illustrated, Williams presents Nash’s work in such a way as to bring together politics, religion, and culture in the images themselves. While popularizing these images, Nast also sanctified them. And in the tension between the two realms, Nast’s work lives on.


“Perhaps the most salient point that Professor Williams’ manuscript makes – and I don’t know if anyone has made this point so clearly – is that religious tolerance and an ideal of a ‘civil religion’ underlies Nast’s critique of those figures and ideas that he lampooned in his cartoons. I found this understanding of Nast to be illuminating.”
-Patricia O’Neill,
Hamilton College

“a useful contextualization of selected work from Nast’s vast output.”
-Deborah Pokinski
Hamilton College

Table of Contents

Foreword by Jay G. Williams
Chapter I The Early Years (1840-1862)
Chapter II The Civil War Years (1862-1865)
Chapter III The Beginning of Reconstruction (1865-1868)
Chapter IV Grant’s First Term (1869-72)
Chapter V Grant’s Second Term (1873-1876)
Chapter VI The Hayes Administration (1877-1880)
Chapter VII The Presidencies of Garfield and Arthur (1881-1884)
Chapter VIII The Cleveland Era (1884-1886)
Chapter IX The Last Years (1887-1902) Conclusión: Nace un nuevo concepto, lo real humorístico
Index of Cartoons and Illustrations

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