Winsor McCay is one of the most known early animators in the world, the work in which Mckay was producing at the time was incredibly well done and set the level for future animations to come, to this day its still hard to believe how old these animations are.
McCay is most famous for creating his animations 'Little Nemo' and 'Gertie the Dinosaur', both of which feature a character and personality built out of animated line drawings.
Little Nemo (1911)
Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
Seven years later McCay produced an animation named 'The Sinking of the Lustintania'. This animation features an explanation of what happened to the boat and why it sank. Essentially its an an American anti-German animation shot in a documentary style to inform the viewers of the event and is created using 25,000 drawings.
The Sinking of the Lustintania (1918)