Illustrating the late 1800s from Honest Abe to Corrupt Boss Tweed

Later Years

Nast had great freedoms in publishing his works in Harper's from 1862 to 1877. However, with the death of the magazine's publisher Fletcher Harper in 1877, tolerance for Nast's politics-bashing cartoons waned. Joseph Harper took over and imposed restrictions on Nast's artistic talents.1 Under the new management, Nast quit.

The likewise opinionated Henry Watterson stated,"in quitting Harper's Weekly, Nast lost his forum: in losing him, Harper's Weekly lost its political importance."1

Nast then worked as a freelance illustrator. He bought a failing newspaper, hoping to revive it as Nast's Weekly, but this endeavor met with limited success. In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt appointed Nast to serve as consul general to Ecuador. Nast accepted, but six months after arriving, he contracted yellow fever and died on December 7, 1902. Even abroad, the "death of Mr. Nast [was] deeply lamented by the natives, who held in high esteem" wrote the New York Times on the proceeding day. 3 Nast was only sixty-two when he died, but his political mock-antics is still present in editorials.

Timeline - 1870 to 1902* (Pop Up Link)
* adapted from SonoftheSouth.net


1 Albert Paine, Thomas Nast: His Period and His Pictures.(New York: Pyne Pr, 1974) 493.
2 ibid. 528
3 "Death of Thomas Nast:Consul General at Guayaquil Victim of Yellow Fever." New York Times 8 December 1902, Available from http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/ pdf?_r=1&res=9407E3DF163AE733A2575BC0A9649D946397D6CF