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Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 - November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century. Best known for his short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip van Winkle (both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon), he was also a prolific essayist, biographer and historian. Irving and James Fenimore Cooper were the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and Irving is said to have encouraged authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving was also the U.S. minister to Spain 1842-1846.