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Collection Overview

Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Thomas Nast Manuscript Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of selected correspondence of American political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast's popular artwork influenced presidential elections in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and the letters in this collection reflect both the professional and personal sides of his life.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected letters (often illustrated) and a manuscript description of Naples, Italy, by American artist Thomas Nast. Included are a letter to Mr. Lexow of the New York Illustrated News (March 19, 1860) about the Sayers and Heenan fight; seven letters sent (1860) from Palermo, Naples, and Milazzo to W. L. Thomas, an engraver with the Illustrated London News; three letters (1869-1872) to Col. and Mrs. Chipman, heavily illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings of his wife and children, one showing a child looking at a medal of Ulysses S. Grant; and four letters to his wife, Sarah, including a letter from Fortress Monroe after the start of the Civil War when Nast was trying to get to the front. In addition, the collection contains a letter (1896) and two greeting cards (1886, 1895) with pen-and-ink sketches that Nast sent to the journalist Joseph Howard.


Arranged by accession number.

Collection Creator Biography:

Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902

Thomas Nast was a nineteenth-century caricaturist and editorial cartoonist and is considered to be the father of American political cartooning. Born in Germany, he came to New York in 1846. He began work for Harper's Weekly, and in 1860 went to England for the New York Illustrated News to depict the prize fight between Heenan and Sayers, the famous boxers. He then joined Garibaldi in Italy as artist for the Illustrated London News. Also In the early 1860s, he married Sarah Edwards. He was well known in his time for his political cartoons supporting American Indians and Chinese Americans, and for advocating the abolition of slavery. Nast became a close friend of President Grant, and the two families shared regular dinners until Grant's death. He lived for many years in Morristown, New Jersey, and in 1902 Theodore Roosevelt appointed him as United States Consul General to Guayaquil, Ecuador, in South America, where he died of yellow fever.

Collection History


Letter to W. B. Hawkins was a gift of William A. Morris, Princeton Class of 1932, on May 29, 1987 .

Letter and cards to Joseph Howard were a gift of E. H. White, Jr., Princeton Class of 1910, on Novemeber 3, 1960 .

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on July 31, 2006. Finding aid written by Tenley Eakin on August 2, 2006. Folder inventory added by James Clark '14 in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Thomas Nast Manuscript Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1

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