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Imagining Ichabod Crane: Illustrated Editions in Rare Books

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Halloween approaches here in the Rare Book Division, and in addition to planning my costume (I'll be dressing as a librarian, naturally), I've also been exploring Washington Irving's classic and frightful Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This tale first appeared in part six of Irving's Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (the George Arents Collection holds a copy of the first edition, dated 1819-1820, in its original parts). While the initial printing contained no illustrations, the tale has since inspired many artists to create works evoking the  strangely funny but frightful events in the story. From images of courtship and fireside taletelling to headless horsemen and eerie graveyard walks, here's a sampling of illustrations from the following editions: the American Art-Union's 1848 edition, with art by F. O. C. Darley; an 1897 edition designed and illustrated by Will Bradley;  Powgen Press's 1936 edition with illustrations by Mary Dana; and a 1943 edition from Peter Pauper Press, illustrated by artist Aldren Watson.

Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., containing the first appearance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., which contains the first appearance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Peter Pauper Press edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with illustrations by Aldren Watson
Aldren Watson's vision of the Headless Horseman from the Peter Pauper Press edition
Peter Pauper Press edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with illustrations by Aldren Watson
Aldren Watson sets the scene for a frightful cemetery stroll in the Peter Pauper Press edition

 

Will Bradley's edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Will Bradley's illustrated cover, featuring Ichabod's love interest

 

The frontispiece of the 1897 edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, showing Will Bradley's illustration of the courting couple
Will Bradley's courting couple  in his 1897 edition of  the tale

 

Mary Dana's art brackets the title of this 1936 Powgen Press edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Mary Dana's illustrations grace the margins throughout the Powgen Press edition
Darley's illustrations for 1848 edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Darley's illustration captures the art of telling  ghost stories, as described in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Darley's illustration for 1848 edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The terrifying encounter, as depicted by Darley

Want to learn more about Washington Irving, the man behind the Legend ? I recommend Elizabeth L. Bradley's Knickerbocker of New York, or this  exhibition catalog in the Library's  Digital Collections. Happy Halloween!

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