Ichabod Crane from Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Ichabod Crane from Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Description (Brief)
Black and white print after an etching. Illustration from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow showing Ichabod Crane courting Katrina Van Tassel under a large tree.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a short story by celebrated American author Washington Irving, was first published in 1820 without illustrations in “The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” Best known for his popular stories of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving achieved acclaim in Europe and the U.S. over the course of his successful writing career. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was included in “The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent” while Irving was living in Europe. Thus, he was one of the earliest American authors to survive merely on his writing. Irving’s stories have remained an emblem of American culture as they were some of the first short stories that aimed to entertain rather than educate. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow story inspired artists to create beautiful illustrations like the one included in this print.
The gothic story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells of a man named Ichabod Crane who comes to Tarrytown, New York, known in the story as Sleepy Hollow, as a teacher. As he tries to win the heart of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, he ultimately finds himself being chased by the village’s feared legend, the Headless Horsemen. The story ends with a smashed pumpkin being found in the place where Ichabon disappeared, never to be seen again. This story is particularly popular around Halloween.
This print, which was engraved in 1848, shows Ichabod Crane leaning against a great elm tree as he croons over Katrina Van Tassel. She is the 18-year-old young woman he is trying to court throughout the story. Katrina sits in front of Ichabod as she faces downwards, seeming to pay little attention to him. The print is set against a mountainous countryside backdrop with a body of water in the background as well as another woman who notices the couple.
Sarony, Major, & Knapp was one of the largest lithographic firms at the end of the 19th and the early of the 20th centuries. However, before it achieved this success it started out small in 1843 when Napoleon Sarony and James P. Major joined together to start a business. Later in 1857, Joseph F. Knapp joined the company making it Sarony, Major, & Knapp. At the time that this was printed, Knapp was not a part of the business, so it was just Sarony & Major.
Felix O. C. Darley (1822-1888), the artist behind the twelve best-known illustrations for The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow, is considered one of America’s best illustrators. The publisher was the American Art Union, (1839-1857) a subscription organization created to educate the public about American art and artists while providing support for American artists. For $5.00 members would receive admissions to the gallery showing, a yearly report, and an engraving of an original work, as well as any benefits each chapter might provide. Two special editions of the story, each with a set of six of Darley’s illustrations were published; the special edition including this illustration was published in 1850. This print has been rebound with the five others at the back of the book and the cover is incorrectly from the earlier Rip Van Winkle edition published for the American Art Union, however the title page and text are of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
American Art Union
Darley, Felix Octavius Carr
Sarony & Major
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 8 1/2 in x 11 in; 21.59 cm x 27.94 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Chronology: 1840-1849
Courtship, love
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Peters Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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