Behind the Victory Flagpole – Alphabet streets — Irving Avenue

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the street you live on was named after the author of some of your favorite childhood characters? Well, that is the case because Washington Irving was the creator of Ichabod Crane from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

Washington Irving was an American author, born April 3, 1783 in New York, where his father had emigrated from Scotland before the Revolution. He was originally educated for the legal profession and in 1806 was called to the New York bar, but his tastes were all in the direction of literature. In this field he made his first appearance by the publication in 1802 of the Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle in the New York Morning Chronicle, a journal edited by his brother, Dr. Peter Irving. Throughout 1807 he acted as principal contributor to the periodical of Salamagundi, which terminated in January, 1808. Then in December, 1809, appeared in his celebrated History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker. During the war with Great Britain in 1812-1815 he edited the Analectic Magazine in Philadelphia and acted also for a time as an aide-de-camp and military secretary to the governor of the State of New York.

In May 1815, he embarked for England, where he commenced in 1818 the series of papers entitled The Sketch Book, which were transmitted for publication to New York. Up to 1832  Irving continued to reside in Europe. During this period he composed some of his most famed literary works. In the spring of 1832 he returned to New York. In 1842 he became United States Minister to Spain, in Madrid and continued in this office until 1846 when he returned home. He died in Sunnyside, New York, November 28, 1859.