Born: 3 April 1783
Died: 28 November 1859
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: Author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
A grand old man of American letters, Washington Irving created two famous characters: the sleepyhead Rip Van Winkle and the scarifying Headless Horseman from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Both appeared in the 1820 collection The Sketch Book, which Irving published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon. The hit book made Irving the first American author to gain real fame in Europe. Late in life Irving wrote a colossal five-volume biography of George Washington, and his biography of Christopher Columbus is still considered a classic.
Extra credit: Irving was named for George Washington; his parents were admirers of General Washington... From 1842-46, Irving served as U.S. ambassador to Spain... Irving is indirectly responsible for the name of the NBA's New York Knicks. Irving wrote A History of New York in 1809 under the pseudonym of Diedrich Knickerbocker; the term "Knickerbocker" came to mean anyone from New York.
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