American newspapers had few illustrations until the 1880s, when refinements in the halftone printing process allowed pictures to be reproduced quickly and inexpensively. Two New York papers, the copiously illustrated World and Daily Graphic, led the way, and before long other big-city papers took note of their commercial success. By 1892, the Philadelphia Inquirer needed artists to sketch the scenes of breaking news events and to illustrate essays, profiles, and society events. One of the Inquirer's new hires was John French Sloan (1871-1951), a designer of greeting cards and calendars who attended night school at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Sloan worked too laboriously to succeed as a reporter and sketch artist, but he became adept at creating decorative illustrations and picture puzzles in the art nouveau style.
Cole TB. Spring Rain, New York. JAMA. 2009;301(16):1635. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.360