Quilt Notes: ARKANSAS TRAVELER debuted in the Ladies Art Company Catalogue in 1897/8, #205. Nancy Cabot later included the pattern in her Chicago Tribune column on December 11, 1936 (see her illustration left). Cabot's comments state the following:
"Pioneers moving westward frequently were at a disadvantage in obtaining their favorite quilt patterns. Often they were forced to cut patches according to imperfect memory. Some of these patterns were such amazing successes that the original design never would have been recognized. ARKANSAS TRAVELER, to all appearances, is a simple adaptation of the SPOOL block. The quilt maker worked out a fundamental four-patch pattern and, from that, created one of the popular favorites of the middle and southwest and named it ARKANSAS TRAVELER in commemoration of the trip across the continent to what was to be her home."
Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS has a second design under this same title, usually called SECRET DRAWER or SPOOLS.
For more references to quilts and the American pioneer days, or the "wild and woolly west," as Nancy Cabot referred to it, compare, for instance, these blocks illustrated at this site, for example:
HANDS ALL AROUND
ROAD TO OKLAHOMA
ROCKY ROAD TO KANSAS