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He achieved international fame for the fictional stories Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as biographical works including A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.
See the fact file below for more interesting Washington Irving facts or alternatively you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- He was born on April 3, 1783, in New York City, New York.
- His parents were William Irving, a petty officer from the British Navy, and Sarah Sanders Irving.
- Washington was named after the hero of the American Revolution – George Washington.
- He was the youngest of 11 children.
- Irving began writing essays under the pen name Jonathan Oldstyle for the Morning Chronicle. They were edited by his older brother Peter.
- After touring Europe from 1804-06, he returned to New York City to practice law.
- Preferring to indulge his creative impulses, Irving teamed up with friend James Kirke Paulding and oldest brother William to publish Salamagundi, a periodical of humorous essays.
- In a similar vein, he wrote the History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker, which earned the writer widespread acclaim.
- Despite his early successes, Irving’s career stalled as he sought to figure out what to do next. He landed a job as editor of Analectic Magazine, and briefly served in the military during the War of 1812.
- Under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon, Washington Irving published a collection of short stories and essays titled The Sketch Book in 1819.
- Washington Irving was also credited with the nickname for New York City – “Gotham”.
- Irving began to write letters and journals while travelling through Italy and France, prior to his decision to quit law and write for a living.
- Irving travelled to Europe where he lived for several years and eventually became the U.S. Ambassador to Spain, in Madrid.
- Irving spent the remainder of his life at his home, “Sunnyside,” in Tarrytown, on the Hudson River, where he devoted himself to literary pursuits.
- Washington Irving won the war on Christmas because he had a vision of what the holiday should be.
- Under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving published Knickerbocker’s History of New York in 1809.
- When Knickerbocker’s History of New York was published, New Year’s Day was New York’s one and only holiday of the winter.
- He described the Dutch settlers of New York and their traditions, including their patron Saint Nicholas, whom was referred to as Santa Claus. In doing so, he created a Christmas tradition.
- Over several episodes in the life of the Dutch community, Irving focuses on Oloffe, a mixture of prophet and land speculator.
- Irving published five Christmas stories in The Sketch Book’s fifth installment on January 20, 1820.
- Irving described St. Nicholas as smoking a pipe and placing gifts in stockings hung by children by the chimney.
- Irving’s St. Nicholas also delivered presents to children in a sleigh.
- Irving had discovered disappearing holiday traditions among the English, and thought they were too beautiful to lose.
- In The Stagecoach, Irving wrote about the bounty of the holiday table, the singing of carols and the generosity of the host toward the people of the neighborhood.
- In Christmas Eve, Irving mentioned the practice of hanging mistletoe.
- His vision of Christmas was, “Of all the old festivals, that of Christmas awakens the strongest and most heartfelt associations. There is a tone of solemn and sacred feeling that blends with our conviviality, and lifts the spirit to a state of hallowed and elevated enjoyment.”
- Irving passed away at his estate on November 28, 1859.
Washington Irving Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Washington Irving Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Washington Irving who achieved international fame for the fictional stories Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as biographical works including A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Washington Irving Facts
- Irving’s Writing
- Fill in the Blanks
- Pen Names
- Irving’s Christmas
- Christmas Jumble
- Helping Hands
- Work History
- Christmas Tradition
- Creative Writing
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Link will appear as Washington Irving Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 29, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.