Biography and History

Washington Irving, often called the first American man of letters and father of the American short story, was an author, essayist, travel book writer, biographer, and columnist; he is best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." He was born in New York City as the youngest of eleven children. He studied law but practiced only briefly. His career as a writer started in journals and newspapers. He traveled widely in Europe, and it was after a seventeen-year period abroad with his brothers in England that he returned to the United States as the famous American author "Geoffrey Crayon," having successfully published The Sketch-Book (in New York in 1819 and in London in 1820) while he was away. In 1842 he was appointed minister to Spain, and in 1846 Irving retired to "Sunnyside," the family home in Tarrytown, N.Y., where he continued to write.

Source: From the finding aid for C1088