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Washington Irving: American Dreams

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Salmagundi Club

47 5th Avenue

New York, NY 10003

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A 43-minute documentary about the life of Washington Irving. Film maker Jim Ormond will be on hand to introduce his documentary with a Q and A session to follow.


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Washington Irving: American Dreams

Washington Irving is perhaps best known today as the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” Born in New York City in 1783, Irving would be an unlikely candidate for the title “Father of the American Short Story.”
Irving’s family encouraged him to become a lawyer, but he never took to the law and never had a facility for it. In his teens, he took part in New York City’s vibrant newspaper culture by writing humorous columns under a pseudonym. He later founded a satirical magazine titled “Salmagundi,” which became a huge hit with the reading public. In “Salmagundi,” he coined the term “Gotham” for New York City. His 1809 bestseller, “A History of New York,” offered a spoof history on the development of Manhattan and introduced the term ‘Knickerbocker’ for New Yorker.

Irving’s own life was as interesting as his best stories. Using historical reenactments, this 43-minute documentary traces Irving’s life from his beginning as a precocious teenage writer to the most famous man in America. Viewers follow Irving’s journey from the streets of early 19th century New York to the palaces of Europe and the American frontier.
The film also touches on Irving’s relationships with other writers and politicians including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Mary Shelley, Andrew Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville, among many others.

In reflecting on his life, Irving remarked “Shadows have proved my substance; and from them I have derived many of my most exquisite enjoyments; while the substantial realities of life have turned to shadows in my grasp…What revelry of the mind I have enjoyed; what fairy castles I have built—and inhabited.
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Salmagundi Club

47 5th Avenue

New York, NY 10003

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