Best Washington Irving Museums & Collections in 2022

Washington Irving Museums & Collections

The collection at the Washington Irving Museums & Archives documents Irving's writing career, diplomatic work, and travels through Europe. The Washington Irving Museums & Archives include manuscripts, correspondence, and personal papers. Notebooks, as well as an autograph manuscript of Life of George Washington, provide insight into Irving's creative process. The museum also showcases the popularity of the author and the culture of collecting souvenirs related to his work.

Life and Letters of Washington Irving

The Life and Letters of Washington Irving is a biography written by the American author. Irving was born in Manhattan and grew up in a merchant family. He began writing under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. In 1815, he moved to England to take care of the family's business. While in England, he published a sketchbook serialized from 1819 to 1820. He also completed his five-volume biography of George Washington.

A popular satire written by Irving, A History of New-York, gained him national attention in the mid-twenties. Irving's character, Diedrich Knickerbocker, made him a popular figure in New York. In the 1820s, he became popular and was dubbed "Diedrich Knickerbocker." The satire made him so popular that New Yorkers began calling themselves "Knickerbockers." Irving's famous satire also inspired the name of the New York Knicks basketball team.

As a writer, Washington Irving had an enviable position among his literary contemporaries. He was fully aware that his life would be a source of great fame for his country. Although his age had passed by, he lived long enough to write a biography of his life without fear of reproach. He also rejected many proposals to write an autobiography, despite his desire to preserve his legacy.

Travels to Spain

A new exhibition at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Virginia, features paintings from Washington Irving's time in Spain. "Sunny Spain," sketched in 1882 while visiting Toledo, captures the essence of an age-old Spanish landscape, with intense heat and light. The painting was a masterful execution of the Impressionist style, which became a popular art movement in the late 19th century.

The Library of Congress has several of Irving's passports. These passports are signed by the Charge d'Affaires in the United States Legation in London, and they are numbered in French, the language of international diplomacy at the time. The exhibition contains a total of three Irving passports, issued to different Americans between 1831 and 1834. This showcases the many aspects of Irving's diplomatic career.

Anglo-Saxons' fascination with Spain in the 1830s helped to create a new style of art known as Orientalist. English and Scottish artists traveled the Continent, creating views that were not only artistic expressions but also visual aids for tourism. Two of the most famous Scottish painters, David Wilkie and Roberts, were prominent painters at this time. Their works capture the essence of Spain's culture and history.

Sunnyside home

The Sunnyside home is an historic house in Tarrytown, New York, situated on 10 acres of land along the Hudson River. This home was once the residence of American author Washington Irving, best known for his short stories such as "Rip Van Winkle" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The home's interior is well preserved, containing many artifacts and documents that trace the writer's life.

The story of Sunnyside begins almost two hundred years before Irving's famous painting. In 1650, Wolfert Acker, a Dutch-American, owned a piece of property known as Wolfert's Roost, part of the Manor of Philipsburg. At this time, the property contained a simple two-room stone tenant house. Eventually, the Van Tassel family married into the Eckert family, which occupied the property until 1802. The Benson Ferris family, clerk of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, deeded the land to Maria Acker, a descendent of Wolfert Acker.

While a tour of Sunnyside is not long, it's worth the time to visit the author's home. Its interior displays Dutch and Spanish influences, picturesque Hudson river views, and large collection of 18th century objects make for an enjoyable experience. Guides, who wear period costumes, give informative, entertaining tours lasting around 45 minutes. Visitors can take part in interactive games during their tour. In addition, visitors can purchase a Sleepy Hollow picture book.

Life of George Washington

A visit to the Life of George Washington at Washington Irving Museums and Collections is sure to delight history buffs. This museum tells the story of Washington's earliest days, when he left for his first expedition on horseback with his friend George William Fairfax. George Washington was 16 years old when he set out, but this was not a childhood day. Instead, the young man sat in the saddle and enjoyed the view of the Potomac and the surrounding area.

The museum features manuscripts, sketches, and notes that chronicle Irving's creative process. The collection includes a manuscript of Irving's Life of George Washington, as well as fragments of other works. In addition to manuscripts, the collection features souvenirs that show the American interest in Irving and the culture of collecting memorabilia. It is impossible to learn everything about Washington from his sketches, but visitors can still get an idea of his whirlwind life.

Another exhibit in the museum features a five-volume biography of Washington. The work was written by William Irving, who served as a diplomat and secretary of the American Legation in London. His correspondences include letters from the Scottish painter Sir David Wilkie, whose paintings include scenes from Washington's life. The museum also features the life of George Washington, as well as other significant figures in American history.


The library's Writings of Washington Irving collection includes manuscripts and rare editions of his works. Some are incomplete. One section of The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus is missing, but the library acquired two leaves from the original manuscript. There are letters and other documents from Irving to William C. Preston, Charles Dickens, and Sir Walter Scott. One letter expresses Irving's views on copyright. Irving's diplomatic career is documented in documents such as his passport.

Although most readers know Irving for his humorous short stories, many people may be unfamiliar with his biography of George Washington. Irving's work proved that he had the skills and the knowledge to write an authoritative and accurate history. His biography of George Washington was widely published and is still the best-known depiction of the president's life. Its humor and realism endeared Irving to readers throughout the world.

The collection also features the personal papers and correspondence of Irving, including his travels in Europe. The personal papers and letters document Irving's creative process, as can a portion of his notebooks. His autograph manuscript for Life of George Washington, which is considered his most famous work, is also featured in the collection. Irving's writings and correspondence are often collected as souvenirs by fans of the author.

Personal papers

The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection is a synthetic collection containing manuscripts and pictorial works of Washington Irving. Born in New York City in 1783, Irving was one of the first American writers to achieve international recognition. His literary success spurred other American writers, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe. Other literary greats who admired Irving included Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, and Charles Dickens. His stance on writing as a legitimate profession was so strong that he campaigned for stronger laws protecting American writers.

The collection contains papers related to Irving's writing career and diplomatic work. It also includes correspondence from Irving, including letters from Julia Irving Grinnell, P. M. Irving, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William H. Prescott, and Daniel Webster. Some of Irving's other correspondences are also included, including those with William Morris, Edgar Allan Poe, and Catherine D'Oubril.

The collection also contains Irving's correspondence, including personal and professional correspondence. His letters to and from Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich Dolgorukii describe his experiences in Spain. His correspondence with Sir David Wilkie discusses his work for King George IV of England. This collection also includes letters between Irving and fellow writers Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, and William C. Preston. A letter to Preston expresses his views on copyright is included in the collection. Other papers document Irving's diplomatic work, including his passport.


The Photographs of Washington Irving Museums & Collectiosn include photographs of the famous American author. The collection documents Irving's writing career, diplomatic activities, and journeys throughout Europe. The collection includes correspondence, writings, personal papers, and printed materials. Irving's notebooks and autograph manuscript for the famous biography Life of George Washington illustrate his creative process. The collection is also a great example of American culture, with many people collecting souvenirs related to the author.

The Trustees began collecting photographs in the 1990s and have been building a permanent display of these pieces ever since. In 2004, they also established a Photograph Study Room, one of the oldest curatorial divisions in the Irving Museums. The growing collection is complemented by exhibitions of historical and contemporary photographs, as well as the photographs of contemporary artists. Photographs are vulnerable to deterioration over time if they are exposed to light and atmosphere.

The museum recently donated 100 photographs from the Irving Penn Foundation, spanning eight decades. The photographs range from post-war Europe to still-life photographs of famous figures. The collection contains more than 160 photographs, including many that were created by Penn himself. The exhibit includes an exhibition dedicated to Irving Penn, which will include a tour of the collection. And as an added bonus, visitors will be able to meet the artist himself.

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