The creator of the republican elephant and democratic donkey, Thomas Nast can be called the father of modern political cartooning. He had the kind of influence editorial cartoonists dream of today: Nast was directly responsible for the downfall and consequent arrest of Boss Tweed, who was apprehended as he fled through Spain by authorities who recognized him from Nast’s cartoons. Nast drew for Harper’s Weekly from the age of 18 until 1886, when he was 46. During that time, he also created the modern image of Santa Claus in the pages of Harper’s Weekly. Nast was sent by President Teddy Roosevelt to Ecuador as a US Consul General, where he persevered through an outbreak of yellow fever, but succumbed to the disease on this date in 1902.
— C. Yoe (in the funny papers)