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Portraits of Cloth: Tohono O'odham Quilts of Goldie Richmond - Main Page

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Goldie Richmond
Goldie Richmond at quilt show,
LDS Church, Ajo, Arizona, around 1960.
Photo gift to ASM from Jerry Macfarlane, Ajo, 1999.

Goldie Richmond (1896 - 1972)

Goldie Preston was born in Kansas in 1896. When she was 21, Goldie married Marion Tracy, becoming his third wife. In 1927, the couple came to the remote desert country of southwestern Arizona. Goldie was 31 and Marion was 68 and in declining health. The Tracys tried to earn a living through prospecting, but when the Depression hit, they switched to trapping in the unending effort to survive in the harsh country.

In 1932, Goldie and Marion opened Tracy's Trading Post at San Simon, 110 miles west of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham (formerly known as Papago) Reservation. Goldie learned to speak the Tohono O'odham language, and was widely known as one of the most respected Anglo traders on the Reservation. Rosamond Spicer, an anthropologist who worked with the O'odham, wrote that people went miles out of their way to trade at Goldie's store.

After Marion's death in 1936, Goldie kept the trading license and continued to run the store. She married Jim Richmond in the 1940s, and the two of them stayed in San Simon another 20 years.

Goldie always stitched quilts to sell in the trading post. After her marriage to Jim, she had more time to develop her exceptional pictorial designs, which won blue ribbons and cash prizes at state and county fairs. Goldie's original appliqué quilts depicting scenes of Tohono O'odham daily life are magnificent fabric portraits of the Sonoran Desert and its people. The sale of her prize winning quilts to passing tourists provided valuable income.

In the late 1960s, Goldie and Jim sold Tracy's Trading Post and retired to Mesa, Arizona. Goldie died there in 1972. By the time word of her death reached the Reservation, it was too late for people to make the long trip to town to attend her funeral. As a tribute to her life and friendship, a number of her O'odham friends held their own memorial service on the reservation where she is still spoken of with respect and affection.

Goldie and husband Marion Tracy in 1917
Goldie Preston at the time of her marriage to Marion Tracy in 1917. Goldie was 21 and Marion was 58. This was Marion's third marriage. On her wedding day, Goldie became a stepmother of seven children, grandmother of seventeen, and great-grandmother of five. Photo courtesy of Henry Ramon.

Goldie in downtown Pheonix, 1952
Goldie in downtown Phoenix, 1952.
Photo courtesy of Marian Coplen Futch.

Goldie and her two dogs, Bill and Don
Goldie and her two dogs, Bill and Don, around 1940. Photo courtesy of
Marian Coplen Futch.


Goldie Richmond:


Goldie Richmond and the Arts and Crafts Board

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