Washington Irving
(1783-1859)

Died aged c. 76

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), both of which appear in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad and George Washington, as well as several histories of 15th-century Spain that deal with subjects such as Alhambra, Christopher Columbus and the Moors. Irving served as American ambassador to Spain in the 1840s. Born and raised in Manhattan to a merchant family, Irving made his literary debut in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. He temporarily moved to England for the family business in 1815 where he achieved fame with the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., serialized from 1819–20. He continued to publish regularly throughout his life, and he completed a five-volume biography of George Washington just eight months before his death at age 76 in Tarrytown, New York. Irving was one of the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and he encouraged other American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe. He was also admired by some British writers, including Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Charles Dickens, Francis Jeffrey and Walter Scott. He advocated for writing as a legitimate profession and argued for stronger laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement.

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Commemorated on 6 plaques

Washington Irving 1783-1859 American writer lived here

8 Argyll Street, London, United Kingdom where they lived

The American essayist Washington Irving, 1783-1859 lived in a house on this site 1819-1824

Forward Trust Building, Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom where they lived

The Argent Centre The Argent Centre is built on the site where Washington Irving conceived the Rip Van Winkle story. Designed by J.G. Bland for a gold pen manufacturer in 1863 employing 250 people. Florentine window tracing and multi coloured brick fascias make this Grade II listed building and excellent example of Italianate and polychromatic architecture popular in the 19th century. Directors had steam removed from the boilers for a Turkish bath and could also fence, play billiards, chess or recline on luxurious couches which lined their rooms. The premises were converted into small business units by Midland Industrial Assocation in 1988.

The Argent Centre, Legge Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, United Kingdom where they conceived the Rip Van Winkle story

Washington Irving Escribio en estas habitaciones sus Cuentos de la Alhambra en el ano de 1829

The Emperor's Chambers - Nasrid Palaces - The Alhambra, Granada, Spain where they stayed (1829)

Irving House formerly the home of Washington Irving Jnr.

11 Commerce Street, New York, NY, United States where they lived

Kentucky Historical Marker #1681

Louisville's Steamboat Era. River navigation in 18th century was by flatboat and keelboat. First steamboat, NEW ORLEANS, arrived in Louisville in autumn of 1811. City soon became steamboat center with six lines operating here. Hundreds of these boats were built in area. Wharf teemed with traffic through Civil War. Eight U.S. presidents arrived on this wharf or "levee." (Reverse) Visitors at Louisville Wharf James Monroe - June 1819 Andrew Jackson - June 1819 Alexis de Tocqueville - Dec. 1831 Washington Irving - Sept. 1832 Abraham Lincoln - Sept. 1841 Charles Dickens - Apr. 1842 Walt Whitman - Feb. 1848 Ralph Waldo Emerson - June 1850 Oliver W. Holmes - Sept. 1855 Herman Melville - Jan.1858

At the Wharf, 4th St., Louisville, KY, United States where they visited (1831)