The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.XX. Newspapers Since 1860
§ 10. Harpers Weekly
When the New York Times attacked the Tweed ring, its most effective ally was Harper’s Weekly, an illustrated paper established in 1857, which partly through its remarkable use of illustrations and its sound editorial policy under George William Curtis had become popular and influential. The illustrations and cartoons of Thomas Nast in this paper were one of the striking features of the journalism of the war, and in the years following became a national force—the artist was declared by General Grant to be the foremost figure in civil life developed by the war. His power as a cartoonist was still growing when in 1870 the Times began its great exposure, and Nast, who in Harper’s Weekly had already begun the fight, collaborated with a series of cartoons which still rank with the greatest, both in conception and in effect, ever published. At the same time Curtis, who became political editor in 1863 and editor three years later, made the paper a telling force in independent journalism, notably during the following decade in advocating civil service reform and similar movements for the cleansing of politics.