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Though trained for law, Washington Irving (1783-1859) turned to writing. The humorous A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty (1809), written under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, won him wide popularity. In 1815, Irving journeyed to England to manage a branch of the family business. This venture ended in failure, and he was compelled to write to support himself. International fame came with the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20). In 1826, Irving went to Spain on a diplomatic assignment. His three-year stay there inspired The History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828) and The Alhambra (1832). In 1829, he was assigned to London as secretary of the United States legation, and after extensive traveling, he served as minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846. Then Irving returned to his home in Tarrytown, New York, where he worked and studied until his death.