Knickerbocker's History of New York (1900)


Illustrated by Maxfield Parrish



To the left, we show a copy of Knickerbocker's History of New York, as

illustrated by Maxfield Parrish and published by R H Russell (New York)

in 1900.


This example retains the original brown board cover with applied

illustrated paste-down.







On the right, we show the

Title Page to this 1st Edition.


Knickerbocker's History of New York (1900) is the 1st Edition of Washington Irving's collection of stories to include illustrations

by Maxfield Parrish.


In Irving's introduction to the work, entitled, "The Author's Apology", he provides his own prelude to the book, which

had been originally been styled, "A History of New York: From the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch

Dynasty" - written by the fictitious author, Diedrich Knickerbocker.


Parrish's illustrations complement the parody within Irving's text in a wonderful manner.



Our Greeting Cards and Reproduction Prints



We have prepared sets of 8 Greeting Cards displaying each of the major monotone images from Knickerbocker's History of New York (1900) and on the left, we show an example of how these Greeting Cards appear. Ordering one of those sets is as easy as selecting the "Add to Cart" feature below and following the prompts provided with our Shopping Cart secured through PayPal. Multiple purchases will be consolidated by that feature and shipping and handling costs to any destination in the world are accommodated by our flat-rate fee of US$20 for every US$200 worth of purchases.



Code: MP KHNY MS(8)
Price: US$40.00


When presented on Greeting Cards, these images are prepared as tipped-on plates - in hommage to the hand-crafted

approach typical of prestige illustrated publications produced in the early decades of the 20th Century.


Hand-finishing is used to replicate the visual appearance of a tipped-on plate and the images are presented on

Ivory card stock (in the case of colour illustrations) or White card stock (in the case of monotone illustrations)

with an accompanying envelope. We have left the cards blank so that you may write your own personal



Should you wish to order a Reproduction Print or an individual Greeting Card from this suite of images, we have

provided options below. Of course, should you require a customised preparation, we welcome your contact through


In the meantime, enjoy perusing these wonderful images from Maxfield Parrish.



The major monotone illustrations


Book I

Chapter V


They introduced among them rum, gin,

and brandy, and the other comforts

of life ...



Book II

Chapter II


Saint Nicholas



Book II

Chapter V


And Oloffe bethought him, and he hastened

and climbed up to the top of one of the tallest

trees, and saw that the smoke spread over a

great extent of country; and, as he considered

it more attentively, he fancied that the great

volume of smoke assumed a variety of

marvellous forms, where in dim obscurity he

saw shadowed out places and domes and

lofty spires





Book III

Chapter I


The morning after he had been installed in

office, and at the moment that he was making

his breakfast from a prodigious earthen dish,

filled with milk and Indian pudding, he was

interrupted by the appearance of Wandle

Schoonhoven, a very important old burgher

of New Amsterdam

Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M1 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M2 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M3 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M4 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Book IV

Chapter VII


Blacksmiths ... suffered their own fires to

go out, while they blew the bellows and

stirred up the fires of faction



Book V

Chapter VIII


Concerning witchcraft

Book VI

Chapter VIII


A phalanx of oyster-fed Pavonians ... who

had remained behind to digest the enormous

dinner they had eaten



Book VII

Chapter IX


The first movement of the governor ...

was to mount to the roof, whence he

contemplated with rueful aspect the

hostile squadron



Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M5 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M6 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M7 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: MP KHNY M8 12x18
Price: US$60.00


Return to top


Washington Irving's introduction to Knickerbocker's History of New York, entitled, ''The Author's Apology''


The following work, in which, at the outset, nothing more was contemplated than a temporary jeu d'esprit, was commenced

in company with my brother, the late Peter Irvin, Esq. Our idea was, to parody a small hand-book which had recently

appeared, entitled A Picture of New York. Like that, our work was to begin with an historical sketch, to be followed by

notices of the customs, manners and institutions of the city, written in a serio-comic vein, and treating local errors, follies,

and abuses with good-humored satire.


To burlesque the pedantic lore displayed in certain American works, our historical sketch was to commence with the

creation of the world; and we laid all kinds of works under contribution for trite citations, relevant or irrelevant, to give

it the proper air of learned research. Before this crude mass of mock erudition could be digested into form, my brother

departed for Europe, and I was left to prosecute the enterprise alone.


I now altered the plan of the work. Discarding all idea of a parody on the Picture of New York, I determined that what

had been originally intended as an introductory sketch should comprise the whole work, and a form a comic history of the

city. I accordingly moulded the mass of citations and disquisitions into introductory chapters, forming the first book; but it

soon became evident to me that, like Robinson Crusoe with his boat, I had begun on too large a scale, and that, to launch

my history successfully, I must reduce its proportions. I accordingly resolved to confine it to the period of the Dutch

domination, which, in its rise, progress, and decline, presented that unity of subject required by classic rule. It was a period,

also, at that time almost a terra incognita in history. In fact, I was surprised to find how few of my fellow-citizens were

aware that New York had ever been called New Amsterdam, or had heard of the names of its early Dutch governors, or

cared a straw about their ancient Dutch progenitors.


This, then, broke upon me as the poetic age of our city - poetic from its very obscurity; and open, like the early and

obscure days of ancient Rome, to all the embellishments of heroic fiction. I hailed my native city as fortunate above all

other American cities, in having an antiquity thus extending back into the regions of doubt and fable; neither did I conceive

I was committing any grievous historical sin in helping out the few facts I could collect in this remote and forgotten region

with figments of my own brain, or in giving characteristic attributes to the few names connected with it which I might dig

up from oblivion.


In this, doubtless, I reasoned like a young and inexperienced writer besotted with his own fancies; and my presumptuous

trespasses into this sacred though neglected region of history have met with deserved rebuke from men of soberer minds. It

is too late, however, to recall the shaft thus rashly launched. To any one whose sense of fitness i may wound, I can only

say with Hamlet:


Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil

Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,

That I have shot my arrow o'er the house,

And hurt my brother.


I will say this in further apology or my work: that, if it has taken an unwarrantable liberty with our early provincial history,

it has at least turned attention to that history and provoked research. It is only since this work appeared that the forgotten

archives of the province have been rummaged, and the facts and personages of the olden time rescued from the dust of

oblivion and elevated into whatever importance they may virtually possess.


The main object of my work, in fact, had a bearing wide from the sober aim of history; but one which, I trust, will meet

with some indulgence from poetic minds. It was to embody the traditions of our city in an amusing form; to illustrate its

local humors, customs, and peculiarities; to clothe home scenes and places and familiar names with those imaginative and

whimsical associations so seldom met with in our new country, but which live like charms and spells about the cities of the

old world, binding the heart of the native inhabitant to his home.


In this I have reason to believe I have in some measure succeeded. Before the appearance of my work the popular

traditions of our city were unrecorded; the peculiar and racy customs and usages derived from our Dutch progenitors were

unnoticed, or regarded with indifference, or adverted to with a sneer. Now they form a convivial currency, and are

brought forward on all occasions; they link our whole community together in good humor and good fellowship; they are

the rallying points of home feeling, the seasoning of our civic festivities, the staple of local tales and local pleasantries, and

are so harped upon by our writers of popular fiction that I find myself almost crowded off the legendary ground which I

was the first to explore, by the host who have followed in my footsteps.


I dwell on this head, because, at the first appearance of my work, its aim and drift were misapprehended by some of the

descendants of the Dutch worthies, and because I understand that now and then one may still be found to regard it with a

captious eye. The far greater part, however, I have reason to flatter myself, receive my good-humored picturings in the

same temper in which they were executed; and when I find, after a lapse of nearly forty years, this hap-hazard production

of my youth still cherished among them - when I find its very name become a "household word" and used to give the

home stamp to everything recommended for popular acceptation, such as Knickerbocker societies, Knickerbocker insurance

companies, Knickerbockers steamboats, Knickerbocker omnibuses, Knickerbocker bread, and Knickerbocker ice; and when I

find New Yorkers of Dutch descent priding themselves upon being "genuine Knickerbockers" - I please myself with the

persuasion that I have struck the right chord; that my dealings with the good old Dutch times, and the customs and usages

derived from them, are in harmony with the feelings and humors of my townsmen; that I have opened a vein of pleasant

associations and quaint characteristics peculiar to my native place, and which its inhabitants will not willingly suffer to pass

away; and that, though other histories of New York may appear of higher claims to learned acceptation, and may take

their dignified and appropriate rank in the family library, Knickerbocker's history will still be received with good-humored

indulgence, and be thumbed and chuckled over by the family fireside.



Return to top