Saturday, April 4, 2009

~ Early Harvey Girl ~

Isn't this just the sweetest porcelain figurine of an "Early Harvey Girl" dating back to 1910. This belonged to my Husband's dear Grandma "Grandma Rohse". I inherited her after Grandma passed away. I believe this figurine dates back to the late 1930's.


She stands 3 1/2 " small. I did not know much about the Harvey Girl, so I look her up on the Internet, this is what I found out.
Originally trains in the West did not offer meal service, leaving the passengers to fend for themselves at mealtimes. This situation gave rise to exploitation, and passengers were soon victimized by poor food and high prices if they could find anything.
Fred Harvey decided there was a better way, and established a series of restaurants on the Santa Fe lines. Trains would stop, allowing passengers to get a good meal for a reasonable price in clean surroundings.
The Fred Harvey Company would recruit women via newspaper ads from towns and cities across the U.S. The women had to be of good moral character, have at least an eight grade education, display good manners and be neat and articulate to work in his restaurants. In return for employment, the Harvey Girls would agree to a six month contract, agree not to marry and abide by all company rules during the term of employment if hired, they were given a rail pass to get to their Company chosen destination.
Harvey Girls were the women who brought respectability to the work of waitressing, They left the protection and poverty of home for for the opportunity to travel and earn their own way in life while experiencing a bit of adventure.

4 comments:

Becky said...

The figurine is adorable. I learned about Harvey girls from the Judy Garland movie "The Harvey Girls". You must give it a look-see. It shows up on TCM occasionally, but maybe Netflix might have it. Good classic movie and it would put your new knowledge in some context!!! How fun.

Becky

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a sweet figurine. I love the history you told and Becky left a comment about a movie. I just might check that movie out!
Penny

Happy @ Home said...

What a sweet figurine and I'm so glad you told the Harvey girl history. How interesting and I too think I might have to look for the movie Becky mentioned.

Pink Slippers said...

That's beautiful. And being from a grandmother makes it truly special. One of my christian novels mentions the Harvey girls.
Wendy