Washington Irving And The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

Chocolate-Espresso Dacquoise. German buttercream. Chocolate ganache. Meringue . . . Oh wait, I forgot where I was.

We’re supposed to be talking about funny names, that’s it, funny names. How about Washington Irving. First name? Last name? Both?

Washington Irving. "Ornamentally styled hair is but one of my many skills." He never said this, but he could have.

Washington Irving. “Ornamentally styled hair is but one of my many skills.” He never said this, but he could have.

Imagine if you will, your dad, William, saying to your mom, Sarah, “I don’t care how many kids we have, Sarah, the first one to live is named after me.” Apparently setting the standard for George Foreman.

Eleven children: William, Jr. the first, passed away, William, Jr. the second, passed away, William, Jr, the third, survived. John, solid name, but he passed away. Ann, she’s a keeper, Peter, now that’s a good name, Catherine, we’re going strong now, Ebenezer, okay maybe I shouldn’t have shared that one with Dickens, John Treat, treat—like Trick or Treat,  Sarah, finally one named after mom, and Washington, named after you guessed it, George Washington.

Little Washington was born in Manhattan, New York, shortly after the end of the American Revolution (1783).

With the help of a nanny, he got to meet his namesake in 1789. It helped President Washington lived in New York at the time.

His older brothers became successful merchants and supported their baby brother as he pursued his early writing career. An outbreak of yellow fever caused his family to send him up the Hudson River to a healthier climate. A town called Tarrytown. The next closest town—a Dutch settlement—Sleepy Hollow. You know where I’m going with this one. Just remember to look before you leap . . . conclusions optional.

After several other trips as a teenager traveling up the Hudson, he visited the Catskill Mountain region, of which he later wrote, “[O]f all the scenery of the Hudson, the Kaatskill Mountains had the most witching effect on my boyish imagination“. Giving birth to Rip Van Winkle. And other short stories showcased in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent..

Look deep into my eyes and I'll bewitch you with the tale of Sleepy Hallow.

Look deep into my sultry eyes and I’ll bewitch you with the Tale of Sleepy Hollow.

Geoffrey Crayon, the first of many outstanding, funny pen names. He used Jonathan Oldstyle, Launcelot Langstaff, Will Wizard and my personal favorite, Diedrich Knickerbocker. Now you know who the New York Knicks are named after. And here I thought Ben Franklin’s pen name, Silence Dogood, was a corker . . . .

He became America’s first internationally best-selling author. He pushed for laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement. And he popularized the nickname “Gotham” for New York City.

*Batman waves at Irving.*

While living in England, he found out Mary Shelley (yes, Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley) had the hots for him. Nothing ever came of it.

For our Jane Austen fans in the audience, “. . . that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long.

The one woman he tried to marry allegedly took a year telling him no.

The man who coined the term, “the almighty dollar,” died on November 28, 1859. He is buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom


About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
This entry was posted in fictional funny names, Funny Names in Literature, humor, humour and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Washington Irving And The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

  1. wdydfae says:

    Nicely done, Fannie! I’m not even going to kick start the blurb generator on this one.

    It makes me want to visit the Catskills, seriously.

    OK, if we’re playing Austen trivia here, I’m going to say . . . Mr. Collins proposing to Elizabeth Bennett in P & P. Am I right or what.

    No, I did not check! Seriously. I’ve been through P & P at least 10 times.

  2. Well done placing the P&P reference. You are absolutely correct!

    . . .Okay Bob, what has our contestant won?

    “Well Fannie, it looks like he’s eligible for 100 virtual BoFN point to be redeemed later at the future BoFN Gift Shop. . . And now for the legalese: some restrictions apply. It has no cash value and cannot be redeemed at Canadian Tire.”

    Regarding the Catskills, I would love to visit them. I’ve never made if farther than N.Y.C..

  3. Dave says:

    I think “Conclusions optional” should be my life motto! I loved that line!

  4. ksbeth says:

    lancelot longstaff is rather boastful don’t you think? i love these and the fact that ‘crayon’ was a ‘pen’ name. irony.

  5. Arto says:

    Diedrich Knickerbocker? How did he ever come up with that? With all those brothers and sisters and most with very normal names (Ebenezer the lucky one) he had to make up a few to catch the family up in BofN loyalty points.

    • What ho!?! We give BoFN loyalty points for funny names “post-ees”. Very cool.

      Wonder if they can spend those at Canadian Tire? Or does it move them up the votes tabulation ladder for the Horsey Awards. . . 😉

  6. kerbey says:

    I can hardly stand to type, whatwith his seductive gaze upon me. He’s more cunning than Mona Lisa. Except the top photo looks as though he just finished his 3rd helping of Thanksgiving dinner. As to Geoffrey Crayon, were there even crayons at that point? Did children get them with their kids’ meals at Ye Old Pub & Grille whence upon a time? Or just quill pens? Didn’t he write Rip Van Winkle as well?

  7. Reblogged this on Fannie Cranium's and commented:

    Is Washington Irving two first names? Two last names? This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names.

  8. markbialczak says:

    I want to Grill you on your George Foreman comment, Fannie. George named all his sons George, and then he called his house George Town.

    If the New York Knickerbockers are named after one of his pen names, we are very lucky that they are not the New York Launcelots, or the Launces for short.

    If I were watching watching Washington Irving play basketball I would be the guy hecking, “Get a first name,” in answer to that one.

    • 1) Woohoo, a grill throw-down. Could you ask Bobby Flay to turn me over so my other side has matching grill marks? All of Foreman’s sons, eh, and his house.

      2) Regarding the New York Knickerbockers and Irving’s impact on New York specifically, I bow to my source: Wikipedia, “The surname of his Dutch historian, Diedrich Knickerbocker, is generally associated with New York and New Yorkers, and can still be seen across the jerseys of New York’s professional basketball team, albeit in its more familiar, abbreviated form, reading simply Knicks.”

      3) I haven’t been to a basketball game since the Sonic left Seattle, so I can only live heckling vicariously through your comment. But I’d be there too. 😀

      • markbialczak says:

        Yeah, when I saw George on TV telling Oprah or Ellen or somebody that all his sons were named George and that he called his house George Town I just about fell off my recliner. I liked the dude BEFORE that.

        Bobby Flay just texted me that he needs to know if you prefer horizontal or vertical stripes, by the way.

        Oh, I believe you on your sources, always. Do not get your Knickerbockers all in a twist about that, Fannie. Let’s go heckle the dude who moved the Sonics out of Seattle. Stand outside his gated entry, right?

  9. Rio says:

    Reblogged this on Seriously Clowning Around and commented:
    Sleepy Hollow, Gotham? What do these two things have in common besides being dumb television shows right now? Washington Irving!

  10. Liz says:

    A brilliant post, Fannie. Had no idea there was so much to this guy and his history. Loved the photos and captions, too. And the comments? Everyone is brilliant. Cracked up reading them. Funny folks here today 🙂

    But wha’? My turn next week already? Wherever does time go? And how the heck do I top this?

    • You make me laugh, my friend. I love your comments.

      Your posts are always wonderful.

      But if you really are nervous, distraction works well, a little slight of hand. And a picture of Dacquoise might not hurt . . . because it was clearly on my mind. 😀

    • P.S. If you want to follow the two first names/two last names pattern, does Christopher Kimball count? His profession is food related. . .

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