Since the short story “Rip Van Winkle” was first published by Washington Irving in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., 1819, numerous adaptations have appeared. Among the first American authors to achieve international acclaim, Irving would argue for stronger copyright laws as his early works were often pirated for European consumption.
The late author and librarian, Edward F. Ellis, would leave several book collections to the BECPL in his will, products of over forty years of book collecting. Perhaps the most unique collection of items are the books and other materials inspired by “Rip Van Winkle.” Included among the many editions are fine bindings, such as the Roycroft printing of 1905, as well as editions by important illustrators such as N. C. Wyeth, Arthur Rackham and Barry Moser.
Prints and figurines are also part of the collection, including a 1954 Royal Doulton mug.