New Book – America’s Most Influential Journalist: The Life, Times and Legacy of Thomas Nast

This 830-page biography contains 1,000 Nast cartoons, illustrations, sketches, and paintings.

  • 800 from Harper’s Weekly, the balance from other rare publications including Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (25), New-York Illustrated News (47), Phunny Phellow (19), a comic paper that Nast contributed to from 1859-1873
  • 100 cartoons on related topics by 20 other artists like Joseph Keppler of Puck

Now available: THE book on Thomas Nast.

Robert Marchant, for Greenwich Time, reviews the new book.:

GREENWICH — John Adler has always been interested in the art of public persuasion, mass media and the business of selling ideas and products.

Now, after nearly 30 years in the making and weeks before reaching his 95th birthday, Adler has produced the largest and most comprehensive overview of Thomas Nast — “America’s Most Influential Journalist — The Life, Times and Legacy of Thomas Nast” — a monumental work of more than 700 pages, complete with hundreds of Nast’s drawings.

“He was a very vain man, and egotistic — but for a reason. I’m not sure how easy he would have been to be with,” he said.

Nast had progressive views about race and was outspoken in defense of African Americans during and after the Civil War. He deplored racial bigotry and rendered harsh judgment on lynch mobs who attacked Chinese workers in the West.

“He had strong beliefs. He was very pro-Black. Very pro-Chinese. Very pro-Indian,” Adler said, but also “very anti-Irish.”

As researcher and biographer, Adler created an digitized index about Harper’s Weekly,, which is available to the public and scholars, after spending years indexing the old magazine and its content. He was awarded the Lincoln Prize in 2003, a prestigious honor in the field of American history, for his work on Harper’s Weekly, a major publication at its height in the late 1800’s that heavily influenced public opinion.

But Adler had a bigger and more ambitious goal: the most comprehensive collection of Nast’s works ever published, along with a new website of Nast’s drawings,

Also available from Amazon.

America’s best-ever political cartoonist is renowned for creating the Republican Elephant and popularizing the Democratic Donkey. He also created the modern images of Santa Claus and Uncle Sam, influenced five victorious Presidential elections, and satirically commented on seven administrations. Nast’s star shown brightest during the Civil War and Reconstruction — when he had virtually no competition — and continued through the first decade of the Gilded Age.


From 14 years ago a smaller version of Adler on Nast, with Draper Hill.

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