1925 J. C. Leyendecker Saturday Evening Post December 26, 1925
1908 E. Boyd Smith Santa Claus and All About Him
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More surprisingly, Santa is shown amusing the soldiers by hanging a wooden effigy of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. So no one is mistaken as to its meaning, a text accompanying the drawing notes: “Santa Claus is entertaining the soldiers by showing them Jeff Davis’s future. He is tying a cord pretty tightly round his neck, and Jeff Davis seems to be kicking very much at such a fate.”
Inside the pages of the same issue, Nast shows Santa Claus in a second drawing, but this time in a more traditional Christmas sense. Titled “Christmas Eve,” the double- circle picture shows a woman kneeling at the foot of her children’s bed as she prays for the safety of her husband, who appears in the next circle sitting alone in front of a fire, wistfully looking at photographs of his family. In the upper left corner of the drawing, Santa Claus is shown climbing down a chimney; in the upper right, he is shown distributing gifts as he rides a sleigh being pulled by reindeer.
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I did know about The Visit From St Nicholas, but had never heard of Thomas Nast or his illustrations. Don't worry, I would never credit Coca Cola with more than its own drink (even though the museum in Atlanta is quite cool). One of the things I like about the quizzes is that I get to learn a lot about American History (and other parts of the world, he), specially this type of things.
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner The Fabulous Flecthers
Yet another indicator of a pagan tradition being borrowed upon and incorporated into a Christian one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joulupukki
Noteworthy also is seeing Santa likened to both Satan and to God, not to mention Pan, Lucifer, Woden and "the little Christ child". Interesting symbolism.
The famous anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss writes in his popular analysis of "Father Christmas": Father Christmas is dressed in scarlet: he is a king. His white beard, his furs and his boots, the sleigh in which he travels evoke winter. He is called "Father" and he is an old man, thus he incarnates the benevolent form of the authority of the ancients. In other words, Father Christmas is God incarnate.
Then we see Kriss Kringle, a US name for Santa Claus derived from the German Christkindl (little Christ child).
Regardless of where the Santa tradition stems, I enjoy it for the smiles it brings to the children's faces and because it promotes giving for the sake of giving. On the downside, Christmas has become far too commercialized and because of this, the devil will surely be found in the details. Ho Ho Ho!
Happy New Year to you, Colleen!
The artist’s style was familiar, but I could not remember his name. I did remember another drawing he had done—“Twas Him!” the cartoon depicting the Tweed Ring in New York. Looking up that cartoon gave me the name and it was smooth sledding from there!
Colleen, the minute I saw this image, I was sure it was a Civil War image. It just had that look, from the background to the uniforms. Sure enough, googling "Santa Claus Civil War" gets you to the Wikipedia page on Christmas in the American Civil War, which happens to have, right at the top, the Harper's Weekly magazine cover displaying this drawing.
This is Thomas Nast's first Santa Claus cartoon, published in Harper's in 1863.
I'd heard of Thomas Nast before, but didn't know either that he more or less invented Santa Claus as we know it and also invented the elephant as the Republican party's symbol. The original elephant cartoon is on the Republican Party Wikipedia page, but the meaning of the cartoon is not discussed. It's clear that the elephant is running wild over some set of things, but I just don't know enough of the details of the period to be able to interpret it.
Interesting quiz, though pretty easy to track down.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, COLLEEN! I found this one immediately with a very first Google search of "Santa Clause and the troops". The soldiers hat gave it away. I should have known it was Nast, I had seen his drawings before in relation to a Thomas Costigan of the Twentieth Ward Jackson Club.
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TinEye Alert You can find this photo on TinEye.com, but the quiz will be a lot more fun if you solve the puzzle on your own.
1. "Santa Claus in Camp" by Thomas Nast
2. Harper's Weekly, Saturday, 3 January 1863
3. Santa coming down the chimney, lists of kids that have been naughty and nice, Santa living at the North Pole, Santa's workshop with elves, Santa's red furry outfit, Santa coming only after the children go to sleep, and more.
If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please email it to us at CFitzp@aol.com. If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of your picture. You will also receive a free Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10% discount towards the purchase of the Forensic Genealogy book.
This wood engraving, by German-American political cartoonist Thomas Nast, is one of the earliest depictions of Santa Claus.
Gee, you dont show the whole image. I Googled the four words american flag santa cartoon then clicked on images. Not realizing you had cropped the image, I noticed Santa was holding a toy that kind of looked like it was being hanged more than a puppet. That lead to clicking on an image of a hanged man.
From there, I clicked on visit page, expecting to get the whole image of the lynching and the story. I was surprised then by the image that came up, both that it wasnt the one shown on the previous page and learning you cropped the original. Once understanding the image was cropped, I saw I passed over had passed over other images with the complete illustration. education.nationalgeographic.com/education/media/santa-claus-camp/?ar_a=1
1906 A Fairy Story Frances Hodgson Burnett
This is Thomas Nast's earliest published picture of Santa Claus. Nast is generally credited with creating our popular image of Santa. This illustration appeared in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper's Weekly, and shows Santa Claus visiting a Civil War Camp. In the background, a sign can be seen that reads "Welcome Santa Claus." The illustration shows Santa handing out gifts to Children and Soldiers. One soldier receives a new pair of socks, which would no doubt be one of the most wonderful things a soldier of the time could receive. Santa is pictured sitting on his sleigh, which is being pulled by reindeer. Santa is pictured with a long white beard, a furry hat, collar and belt. We can see that many of our modern perceptions of Santa Claus are demonstrated in the 140 year old print.
Perhaps most interesting about this print is the special gift in Santa's hand. Santa is holding a dancing puppet of none-other-than Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. The likeness to Jefferson Davis is unmistakable. Even more interesting, Davis appears to have the string tied around his neck, so Santa appears to by Lynching Jefferson Davis! This is a classic Thomas Nast illustration. This is Nast's first published picture of Santa Claus, and we can see many of our present images of Santa demonstrated in this Civil War illustration.
Thomas Nast is considered by many to be the father of the American political cartoon. He is credited with creating the elephant as the political symbol of the Republican Party and popularizing the use of a donkey for the Democratic Party. But outside of the political arena, his drawings of Santa Claus, which began during the Civil War, have had a profound and lasting effect on our modern impression of the “right jolly old elf.”
Born in Landau, in the Kingdom of Bavaria, on September 27, 1840, Nast was six-years- old when his mother brought him and his sister to the United States, settling in New York City. His artistic talents were evident early in life, and at age fifteen, he acquired his first job as a staff artist with Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News. In 1860, Nast left Leslie’s and began working as an artist for the New York Illustrated News. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he began drawing scenes of camp life and soldiers on the march. During this time, the overall style of his drawings began to take on a more sentimental tone, often laced with distinct political commentary. Changing jobs again in 1862, Nast became an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly, a position he would hold for the next 25 years.
In political circles, Thomas Nast was an ardent Republican who favored abolition and opposed segregation. He was a staunch supporter of Abraham Lincoln, and later Ulysses S. Grant. His initial portrayal of Santa Claus was even a political statement mixed with an element of war propaganda.
Guided by Clement Moore’s description of Santa Claus in “A Visit from St. Nicholas,”
Nast first drew Santa during the 1862 Christmas season. The drawings, however, actually appeared in the post- dated January 3, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly. Nast’ s Santa appears on the cover of the paper in an illustration titled “Santa Claus in Camp.”
Nast drew a patriotic Santa dressed in striped pants and a coat covered with stars sitting on his sleigh beneath a waving American flag. Two drummer boys in the foreground of the sketch appear fascinated with a jack- in-the-box toy. One soldier is shown opening his box to find a stocking stuffed with presents, while another soldier holds up the pipe he received as a present. In the background, other soldiers play football, chase a greased boar, and cook Christmas dinner.
The same family is depicted the following Christmas in the December 26, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly. In “Christmas 1863,” the couple is seen happily reunited as the husband returns home on furlough. In a panel to the left, Santa Claus is seen stepping from the fireplace with a sack on his back as the children sleep soundly on Christmas Eve.
Although Nast did not use an image of Santa for his 1864 Christmas drawing, he brought St. Nick back in the December 30, 1865 issue of Harper’s, which contains a drawing of Santa Claus smoking a pipe and wishing a “Merry Christmas to all.”
Nast would go on to produce an annual drawing of Santa Claus for the remainder of his time at Harper’s, each year adding details to the story of Santa’s life through his illustrations. His full page drawing in the January 1, 1881 issue became so popular that it has essentially served as Santa’s official portrait.