The nineteenth century in American literature was developed by many talented American writers. One writer that especially stands out from any other is Washington Irving. Irving, a native of New York, helped sculpt American literature and romanticism in the 1800s by using his own upbringing in the United States, history, and literary imagery as utensils to write some of the worlds most famous short stories and novels. He has been named the father of the American short story, ambassador to Spain, and the first American to make a living solely based on writing. Apart from his worldly fame he was also very typical of a short story author during his time.
Washington Irving was born in New York City on April 3, 1783. Irving's background as a native New Yorker helped him write A History of New York about Dutch immigrants living in early New York. Not only were his stories centralized in New York City, Many stories were set outside the city in the upstate parts of New York State. The story of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was portrayed in the lower Hudson river valley. Irving felt that the area was a very beautiful and wild place, perfect for a story with the kind of mysticism that was in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". The story is about Ichabod Crane, who is sent to sleepy hollow to become a schoolmaster. He begins to fall in love with a local girl, Katrina Van Tassel. Ichabod borrowed a horse and rode to a party at the Van Tassel mansion where he heard many stories about a headless horseman. When he went home that night he was very scared of all the stories he had heard. He then gets chased by the headless horseman and hit in the head by him. The next day nobody could find Ichabod Crane or any trace. His horse had returned home without him. Ichabod Crane was never seen again and became part of the legend of the headless horseman. This story is a perfect example of the kind of romanticism used by Irving.