Garibaldi Sketchbook, 1860

Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Pencil, crayon, and ink on paper; bound, Collection of Macculloch Hall Historical Museum

Some of Thomas Nast’s earliest known professional drawings appear in the Garibaldi Sketchbook. In 1860, nineteen-year-old Nast was a battlefield correspondent covering Giuseppe Garibaldi’s campaign to liberate and unify Sicily and the southern Italian states. Nast worked in Sicily as a reporting artist for The Illustrated London News and The New York Illustrated News embedded with Garibaldi’s troops. As a correspondent and illustrator, Nast drew on his classical artistic training at the National Academy of Design. His pencil and watercolor sketches are drawn in a tightly controlled and accurate manner free of caricature or exaggeration. Nast’s illustrations were sent from Sicily to the United States to be engraved for publication in the newspaper.

Nast left Italy near the end of 1860 to spend time in Germany where he was born. He returned to New York in early 1861 shortly before the beginning of the Civil War. Nast’s wartime reporting from Italy made him a valuable employee for illustrating the Civil War for Harper’s Weekly. Covering the Civil War for Harper's Weekly, Nast would create a body of work that would make him internationally famous.

To explore the pages from Nast’s Garibaldi Sketch Book browse the images below:

Digitization of Thomas Nast's Garibaldi Sketch Book was completed during spring 2018 by Leana Santana as part of her Structured Learning Experience in fulfillment of graduation requirements from the Morris County School of Technology (