Trained as an artist, McKim became a successful woman entrepreneur at a time when they were quite rare. Her earliest pattern series was published in the Kansas City Star, May 7, 1916. After marriage and the birth of three children, McKim’s career resumed in 1921 with the publication of more of her distinctive graphic straight-edged designs, which soon evolved into a mail-order business. From her pen would flow a veritable flood of quilt patterns for the famous Kansas City Star syndicated series, as well as for Child Life and Better Home and Gardens. Quilt shows and contests exploded across the country as a result of the publication of her designs.
McKim is best known for her 1931 book, 101 Patchwork Patterns, one of the earliest quilt pattern anthologies and still considered a classic, establishing her as one of the giants of 20th century quilt history. She was included in the first edition of Who’s Who Among American Women and her influence on American quilting continues unabated, as her patterns enjoy still another revival.
“Honoring Ruby Short McKim’s many and varied accomplishments in creating, preserving and so widely disseminating our quilt heritage via her syndicated patterns is recognition long due,” stated Hazel Carter, President of The Quilters Hall of Fame.
Ruby Short McKim
Artist, entrepreneur. Inducted in 2002 at The Quilters Hall of Fame Celebration in Marion, Indiana.