Correct! Thomas Nast 'Americanized' Santa Claus - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Correct! Thomas Nast 'Americanized' Santa Claus

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Provided by WorldNow

Today's "jolly old elf," with his rotund belly, full beard and sack of toys evolved in a series of drawings by the cartoonist Thomas Nast, beginning in the 1870s. By the 1880s, when the Nast drawing at left was published in Harper's magazine, Santa had taken on his modern appearance.

Some authorities suggest that Nast based his drawings on Clement Clark Moore's description of Santa Claus in his poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." (Today, the poem is more often called "The Night Before Christmas.")

In earlier times, the holiday visitor we know today as Santa Claus came in different versions based on immigrant cultures and traditions. So it might be said that Nast created the American Santa.

Nast, who was born in Germany in 1848 and later lived in New Jersey and New York City, made his reputation is a political cartoonist. He gets credit for the images of Uncle Sam, the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey.

You can learn more about Thomas Nast by following the links at the left.