The Bagpiper

A Newsletter for Erwin & Related Families

Volume 6, Issue 1                      Sub Sole Sub Umbra Virens                   March 2007

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Washington Irving


Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 * November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century, perhaps best known for his short stories, his most famous being *The Legend of Sleepy Hollow* and *Rip van Winkle* (both appearing in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon), but he was a prolific writer of essays, biographies, and other forms as well. Irving is said to have mentored authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving was born in Manhattan, and was a direct descendant of the Bonshaw Irvings. A lawyer, he was a member of the American diplomatic staff in Britain and in Spain. He spoke fluent Spanish, which served him well in his writings on that country, and he could read several other languages, including German and Dutch. He was a prolific essayist who wrote widely respected biographies of George Washington, Muhammad, and others, and he wrote a number of books on 15th century Spain dealing with subjects such as Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. While in Europe as a young man, Irving dabbled in the theatre and even served as manager of the famed Globe for a period of time.