New Hampshire Glossary: Yankee Notions

Yankee notions– goods made in New England, made widely known by traveling Yankee peddlers (salespeople).

These items included (but were not limited to) pins, needles, hooks, scissors, combs, small hardware, buttons, thread, ribbon, minor trinkets, knick-knacks, household industries, nails, clocks, tin ware, and miscellaneous novelties. The peddler often carried his goods in trunks slung on his back by a harness or a leather strap.

Sometimes he used large wagons. He traveled by land primarily until rivers and lakes became connected by canals. Then direct selling in early America branched out to the frontiers of the West and the Canadian territory in the north.


The Economic History of Direct Selling, The Yankee Peddler

-Painting: “Yankee Peddler,” 1858, John Ehninger

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