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Washington Irving.

Accidentally ran across this and found it amazing.

In late 1809, while mourning the death of his seventeen year
old fiancรฉe Matilda Hoffman, Irving completed work on his first
major book, A History of New York from the Beginning of the World
to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker (1809),
a satire on self-important local history and contemporary politics.
Prior to its publication Irving started a hoax akin to today's
viral marketing campaigns: He placed a series of missing person
adverts in New York newspapers seeking information on Diedrich
Knickerbocker, a crusty Dutch historian who had allegedly gone
missing from his hotel in New York City. As part of the ruse,
Irving placed a notice — allegedly from the hotel's proprietor
— informing readers that if Mr. Knickerbocker failed to return
to the hotel to pay his bill, he would publish a manuscript
Knickerbocker had left behind.

Unsuspecting readers followed the story of Knickerbocker and his
manuscript with interest, and some New York city officials were
concerned enough about the missing historian that they considered
offering a reward for his safe return. Riding the wave of public
interest he had created with his hoax, Irving — adopting the pseudonym
of his Dutch historian — published A History of New York on December 6,
1809, to immediate critical and popular success. "It took with the
public," Irving remarked, "and gave me celebrity, as an original work
was something remarkable and uncommon in America."

[from Wikipedia]

The term "knickerbockers" was eventually given to the short type
pants common to the Dutch in that time. It is now also applied
to New Yorkers, and is the team name of the New York Knicks
basketball franchise.

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