The history of Kinderhook is rich with the lore of headless horsemen, love-struck schoolmasters and a sleepy small town. This is primarily due to Washington Irving, his wild imagination, and the short-story “Legends of Sleepy Hallow.”
On August 2, New York Times bestselling biographer Brian Jay Jones will speak on the life of Irving and his habit of using artistic license when it came to the history of the area. At 4:00 pm at the Kinderhook Reformed Church (21 Broad St in Kinderhook), Jones will address the historical myths plucked from Irving’s satirical history The History of New York written in 1809 in his talk, “Washington Irving and the (Re)Creation of Dutch New York” as part of the Columbia County Historical Society’s Dutch New York: Fact and Fiction lecture series.
In 1964, the Columbia County Historical Society acquired the Luykas Van Alen House. In honor of this 50th anniversary, the Society is hosting a series of programs themed around the county’s colonial Dutch heritage.
Brian Jay Jones spent nearly two decades as a public policy analyst and speechwriter before turning to biography full-time in 2007. His first book was Washington Irving (2008). His most recent book, Jim Henson: The Biography (2013) is the first full length biography of the iconic creator of the Muppets.
The program is supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. The lecture is $7 for members of the Columbia County Historical Society and $10 for non-members.
A reception at the Jesse Merwin House in Kinderhook will follow the talk. Jesse Merwin was the real-life schoolmaster thought to be the inspiration behind Irving’s character, Ichabod Crane.
Tickets for the lecture and reception are $30 for members and $45 for non-members. Reservations for the reception are required and can be made by calling 518-758-9265 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.