Legacy & Accomplishments
Later Life & Death
After returning from Spain in 1846, Irving took up permanent residence at Sunnyside, and began working on an "Author's Revised Edition" of his works for publisher George Palmer Putnam. For its publication, Irving had made a deal that guaranteed him 12 percent of the retail price of all copies sold. Such an agreement was unprecedented at that time.
Washington Irving died on the night of November 28th, 1859, at 9:00 pm, only eight months after completing the final volume of his biography, Irving died of a heart attack in his bedroom at Sunnyside, at the age of 76. His last words were rumored to be: "Well, I must arrange my pillows for another night. When will this end?" He was buried under a simple headstone at Sleepy Hollow cemetery on December 1, 1859.
Engraved into his headstone, commemorated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from his poem "In The Churchyard at Tarrytown", it reads:
"How sweet a life was his; how sweet a death!
Living, to wing with mirth the weary hours,
Or with romantic tales the heart to cheer;
Dying, to leave a memory like the breath
Of summers full of sunshine and of showers,