peddler or hawker, itinerant vendor of small goods. In rural America peddlers carried their packs or drove a horse and cart from door to door. While the importance of peddlers to the small American community declined considerably with the growth of automobile transportation and mail-order houses, their role in certain sections of the Asian and African markets has remained important.
See R. L. Wright, Hawkers and Walkers in Early America (1927, repr. 1965); J. R. Dolan, Yankee Peddlers of Early America (1964).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.