Early traders traveled through Arizona Territory, selling goods from their wagons, but they soon built stores that evolved into trading and social centers where wool, sheep, and Native Arts were exchanged for food and necessities. Navajo trading posts are best known, but trading posts existed on every reservation in Arizona. Traders became the intermediaries between Native peoples and the outside world, providing not only hard goods, but other services including translating, correspondence, and transportation. Trading posts also became destinations for artists, authors, and tourists. Trading posts have mostly disappeared today, but they remain a romantic and historic part of the Southwest.
Carolyn O’Bagy Davis, a fourth-generation descendant of Utah pioneers, is the author of 14 books on archaeology, quilting and the history of the Southwest. Her book Hopi Summer was selected as OneBookArizona for 2011 and Desert Trader was named one of the Best Books of the Southwest 2012. She was founding president of the Tucson Quilters Guild and Old Pueblo Archaeology Center and is an inducted member of the Society of Women Geographers and the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame. Davis has appeared on HGTV, PBS, and Lifetime television programs and has curated many traveling museum exhibits.