Irvington High School History Teacher’s Essay Published in Scholarly Collection
Dr. Erik Weiselberg, Village of Irvington historian, principal historian of Revolutionary Westchester 250 and a social studies teacher at Irvington High School, has had his essay, “The Revolution Lives On,” published in the scholarly collection, “Rip Van Winkle’s Republic: Washington Irving in History and Memory.”
In his essay, Dr. Weiselberg examines the tale’s differing reception by both local and national audiences from 1820 to 2020. It explores Irving’s personal and historical inspirations in writing “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and traces the connection between the tale and the Revolutionary War events. And it traces the loss of those historical allusions by the early 20th century when it became essentially a Halloween ghost story, including the Village of North Tarrytown changing its name to Sleepy Hollow in the 1990s.
“My essay is a historical look at how and why Washington Irving’s ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ was associated with the Revolutionary War and the capture of British spy John André through the late 19th century until it became a Halloween fixture alongside pumpkins and ghost stories in the early 20th century,” Dr. Weiselberg said.
Dr. Weiselberg, said his essay topic connects to the topics of local history he teaches in his American Studies class at Irvington High School.
Six of Dr. Weiselberg’s essays on Westchester’s role in the Revolution can be read here on The Hudson Independent‘s web site.
The book, “Rip Van Winkle’s Republic: Washington Irving in History and Memory,” edited by Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, can be purchased online from Amazon, LSU Press and other booksellers.