How Much Do You Know About Washington Irving?

America’s First Man of Letters, Washington Irving, died 160 years ago this month. Let’s celebrate this illustrious Westchesterite with a pop quiz in his honor.

1Washington Irving was named after our first president, George Washington, because Irving’s birthday corresponds with an important event in our country’s history. Which event was that?

A. The Battle of White Plains
B. George Washington’s inauguration
C. The signing of the Constitution
D. The end of the American Revolution


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2Irvington, NY, got its current name in 1854, when the riverside village changed its name to honor its eponym, who lived in neighboring Tarrytown. What was Irvington called before changing its name?

A. Philipse’s Manor
B. Kenoten​
C. Dearman​
D. Paulding


3.  Irving adopted a number of pen names throughout his illustrious career. One of them became so famous, it was adopted as the name of a New York sports team. Which name was it?

A. Gregory Yankee
B. Diedrich Knickerbocker
C. William Wizard
D. Johan Boulder

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4Today, you may visit Irving’s grave in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, as well as that of one of his famous characters in the Old Dutch Burying Ground. Which character is allegedly buried there?

A. Ichabod Crane
B. Dame Van Winkle
C. The Headless Horseman
D. Judith Gardenier

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5Irving is thought to be the first American writer to make his living solely by writing. Which future legendary writer is known to have written to Irving to seek advice?

A. Edgar Allan Poe
B. Herman Melville
C. Nathaniel Hawthorne
D. Jack London


6Many of our modern Christmas traditions were made popular by Irving in his book The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., including:

A. Decorating a tree
B. Leaving milk and cookies out
C. Putting your stockings above the fireplace
D. Hanging mistletoe


7Irving once said, “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.” But our favorite Westchester author never married, why?

A. His proposal was rejected
B. His fiancée died
C. He was consumed by his work
D. He never fell in love


* Special thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Bradley of Historic Hudson Valley for her research assistance.



– Spoiler Alert! Answers Below – 


1. D

2. C

3. B

4. C

5. A

6. D

7. B

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