Box icon Washington Irving (1783-1859)

American writer

Portrait of Washington Irving

Washington Irving was a prolific writer of essays, travel accounts, histories, biographies and short stories. He is perhaps best known for his short stories 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' and 'Rip Van Winkle' which appeared in his 'The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent' (1820).

Irving admired many of his fellow authors including the poets Thomas Campbell and Lord Byron and novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott. Irving's visits to Scott's and Byron's homes produced a travel account, 'Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey' (1835).

Irving travelled extensively, particularly to Spain where he was ambassador to Madrid. His interest in Spanish history and research in Spanish archives produced a number of histories.

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NRA name: Irving, Washington (1783-1859) American Author.

The National Register of Archives (NRA) contains information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history in archival holdings in the UK and overseas. You can find more information on the National Register of Archives name authority catalogue.


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'I have no idea of compromising my character as a native born and thoroughly loyal American citizen.'
– Letter from Irving to Murray, 22 September 1850.


Map of one of the locations where Washington Irving lived during his time in England:
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