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arkansas traveler background information

This 1870 Currier and Ives lithograph was inspired by The Arkansas Traveller, a melody with a story that appeared around 1858-1863. It depicts a wise-cracking, fiddle-playing hillbilly's encounter with a sophisticated city-slicker. The dialogue and tune, performed and recorded by Steve Porter and Ernest Hare in 1922, are part of the American Variety Stage collection.

A brief historical timeline of The Arkansas Traveller is presented below.

arkansas traveller
Arkansas Traveller: Scene In The Back Woods Of Arkansas
Created/Published [New York]: Currier and Ives, 1870 (not available online)
Prints and Photographs Division, The Library of Congress

Image Caption Text: Traveller, - To Squatter, - Can you give me some refreshments and a night's lodging? - Squatter, No sir - Haven't got any room, nothin to eat (fiddles away) - Traveller - Where does this road go to? - Squatter, - It don't go anywhere, it stays here, - (Still fiddling) - Traveller, - Why don't you play the rest of the tune? Squatter - Don't know it, - Traveller - Here give me the fiddle - plays.

February 23, 1847 First printing of the melody by W. C. Peters under the title Arkansas Traveller and Rackinsac Waltz
1851 Tune is called A Western Refrain
1858-1863 Famous dialogue story probably appeared first in two sheet music editions by Mose Case
December, 1863 Almost identical copy was published by Oliver Ditson & Co., Boston with the credit to Mose Case
1858 - 1860 Version by Col. Faulkner with large colored lithograph entitled The Arkansas Traveller, designed by one of the natives and dedicated to Col. S.C. Faulkner, contains melody, but no dialogue
1870 Currier and Ives publish two prints entitled The Arkansas Traveller and The Turn of the Tune
1876 Large cardboard printing by Col. S. C. Faulkner or B. S. Alford. Faulkner claims to have been the original Arkansas Traveller in 1840
Fuld, James J. The Book of World-Famous Music. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1996. pp. 107-108.


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