Santa Claus Pictures


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Thomas Nast Santa Claus Pictures

Original Santa Claus | Civil War Christmas | Thomas Nast Santa Claus | The Union Christmas | Original Santa Claus Print


Thomas Nast is credited with creating our popular image of Santa Claus.  Below, we present Thomas Nast's Earliest published works of Santa Claus and Christmas Traditions. All of these illustrations appeared in Harper's Weekly newspapers in the years 1863 -1865. This is a fabulous source of information on the History of Santa Claus, and the origins of our Christmas Traditions. It can be seen that our popular image of Santa was first introduced by Nast during the Civil War. Thomas Nast's picture of Santa would continue to evolve over the years, but  it is fascinating to study these early images and spot all the Santa traditions that we still practice today.  Click on the Illustrations to be taken to large images and detailed descriptions of the Santa Claus artwork. Each original leaf pictured below is over 140 years old.

Christmas Eve, 1862

This illustration appeared in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper's Weekly, and is presenting an image of Christmas Eve 1862.  While the picture of Santa Claus is small, he can be seen in the upper left corner of the picture, crawling into a chimney! (Click on Image for Detailed Description)

Civil War Christmas

Thomas Nast "Civil War Christmas"  (Click on Image for Enlarged View)

Santa Claus in Camp, Christmas 1862

This Thomas Nast drawing of Santa Claus appeared in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper's Weekly.  The image is a nice, large drawing of Santa Claus. Santa is shown visiting a Union Civil War camp. Santa is pictured in a sleigh, being pulled by reindeer.  This is the earliest published picture of Santa by Thomas Nast. Read the full description to learn who Santa appears to by lynching in the picture! (Click on Image for Detailed Description)

Thomas Nast Santa Claus Picture

Thomas Nast's Original 1863 "Santa Claus" Picture (Click on Image for Enlarged View)

Christmas Eve, 1863

This Thomas Nast illustration was printed on December 26, 1863 in Harper's Weekly.  It features a picture of Santa Claus with a bag on his back, walking past two children sleeping in bed. This was Nast's first image of Santa holding the bag of gifts. Santa appears in the left center image on the leaf. The bag would become an integral part of our image of Santa, and it was first introduced in this 1863 Thomas Nast illustration. (Click on Image for Detailed Description)

Thomas Nast Santa Claus

Thomas Nast "Christmas 1863" Featuring Nast's Early Image of Santa Claus (Click on Image for Enlarged View)

Christmas Eve, 1864

This is another Classic Thomas Nast Christmas Illustration.  This one shows President Abraham Lincoln offering reunification to the South, and  a place at the Christmas table of the United States of America. Notice that there is a chair for each of the seceded states. (Click on Image for Detailed Description)

Abraham Lincoln Christmas Party

Thomas Nast "The Union Christmas"  (Click on Image for Enlarged View)

Santa Claus 1865

 This is a very early Nast drawing of Santa Claus created in 1865.  This is a nice detailed drawing of Santa Claus, and you can see that he has not changed much in the last 140 years. This drawing helped to launch our image of Santa Claus that endures today. The illustration is surrounded by inset images showing Christmas traditions of the Civil War years.  This is one of my favorite Nast Images of Santa Claus. (Click on Image for Detailed Description)

Original Santa Claus Illustration

Thomas Nast's Original 1865 "Santa Claus" Picture (Click on Image for Enlarged View)

The images above present an intriguing view of our Christmas traditions and the history of Santa Claus. It is interesting to note how many of our modern Christmas traditions got their start during the Civil War. Thomas Nast is probably most famous for creating our modern image of Santa Claus.

We hope you enjoy this complete Gallery of the Civil War works of Thomas Nast.  We have created this digital archive for the use of researchers and students of Thomas Nast.  Please remember that the digitally enhanced images are Copyright Son of the South Material, so do not use them without asking permission. For more information, contact .

A Note to our Readers

We created this Thomas Nast Gallery to digitally preserve Nast's Civil War work for posterity.  We are now making the original, 140 year old leafs available for a price of $250 each.  The proceeds from the sale of the material will enable us to continue to expand the material featured on our site.  Please contact if you are interested in acquiring one of these original leafs.




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