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Author photo. Courtesy of the <a href="http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?100046">NYPL Digital Gallery</a> (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

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Washington Irving, one of the first Americans to achieve international recognition as an author, was born in New York City in 1783. His A History of New York, published in 1809 under the name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, was a satirical history of New York that spanned the years from 1609 to 1664. Under another pseudonym, Geoffrey Crayon, he wrote The Sketch-book, which included essays about English folk customs, essays about the American Indian, and the two American stories for which he is most renowned--"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." Irving served as a member of the U.S. legation in Spain from 1826 to 1829 and as minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846. Following his return to the U.S. in 1846, he began work on a five-volume biography of Washington that was published from 1855-1859. Washington Irving died in 1859 in New York.
— biography from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
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Short biography
Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American short-story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories "Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820). His historical works include biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad and George Washington, as well as several histories of 15th-century Spain.

Irving served as ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846. He made his literary debut in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. He moved to England for the family business in 1815. He continued to publish regularly throughout his life.
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