An Eyewitness Describes The Hanging Of John Brown

Harper’s Weekly refused to print the story “Porte Crayon” wrote at the scene. Brought to light 95 years later, it is presented here.

John Brown of Osawatomie, the guerrilla captain of Bleeding Kansas and leader of the abortive raid on Harpers Ferry to free the slaves, was hanged on the bright balmy morning of December 2, 1859. The scene of the execution of the old abolition raider was at Charlestown, then in Virginia, but soon to become Charlestown, West Virginia, through the agency of a war which Brown’s Harpers Ferry foray hastened.Read more »


When Donkey and Elephant First Clashed

One hundred forty years ago, Harper’s Weekly’s cartoonist of genius, Thomas Nast, sired the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant into ridicule. In an environment of flourishing editorial cartoons, Nast’s ready vocabulary of political symbols caught on. Within a decade the donkey and elephant had evolved from the focal points of partisan mockery into the popular mascots they are today. Read more »