Irving, Washington (1783–1859), first U.S. writer to achieve international acclaim. Born in New York, he became a writer and publisher; he went to Europe in 1815 on business and remained there until 1832. His most famous stories, “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” appeared first in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon (1820). None of his later works approached the success of this collection. He served as U.S. minister to Spain 1842–46, but spent the rest of his life in Tarrytown, N.Y., near the setting of many of his tales.