Named for George Washington, Washington Irving (1783–1859) was born in Manhattan, New York in 1783. He gained literary acclaim after publishing The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819), a collection of short stories containing the famous short stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Irving traveled widely in Europe, lived in Spain from 1828–32, and served as the American ambassador to Spain from 1842–45. During this period, he published a number of works on Spanish and colonial history, including a biography of Columbus, The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828).
Author: Washington Irving
Washington IrvingWashington Irving’s stories are largely responsible for shaping the way Americans celebrate Christmas today. Without them, Christmas wouldn’t have Santa Claus and his flying sleigh, stockings hung by the chimney, mistletoe, caroling, or yule logs.
Washington Irving (1783–1859) was an American author and US ambassador to Spain, perhaps best known for his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” One of the first American writers to garner acclaim in Europe, Irving wrote his history of Christopher Columbus while accompanying the American diplomat Alexander Hill Everett in Madrid, making good use of the consul’s library on Spanish history. Published as a four-volume set in 1828, the semi-fictional account quickly became immensely popular.
The present reading, like the last excerpted from Washington Irving’s Life of George Washington (1855–59), deals with the selection, on June 14, 1775, of George Washington to be commander in chief of the newly organized American army.
Not only the military and presidential Father of His Country, George Washington was also present at its conception. As a delegate from Virginia, he attended the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia from September 5 to October 26, 1774 to consider a united colonial response to the Intolerable Acts, passed by the British Parliament to punish Boston for the Boston Tea Party.