10 Things I Learned About the Harvey Girls While Researching My Cowboys and Harvey Girls Series
10. Being a Harvey Girl was considered one of the best jobs for women of the West. While waitressing had been looked down upon as suitable employment in earlier times, Fred Harvey made the work as respectable as secretarial work or clerking in a shop.
9. The girls had strict rules of conduct and had to live in dorm type rooms at the hotel. They were watched over by an older matron who often checked their rooms and personal belongings while they were working, looking for any infractions of the strict rules of conduct.
8. Will Rogers once claimed that Fred Harvey kept the West supplied with good food and beautiful brides, since many of the girls married, sometimes just months after arriving at their assigned post. This in spite of the fact they had to sign a one-year contract agreeing NOT to marry.
7. The girls were hardly the ‘angels’ one newspaper reporter called them. Through the decades, their misdeeds ran the gamut from innocent mischief to outright crime.
6. But overall the girls were proud of their work—some so proud that many years later their service as a Harvey Girl was included in their obituaries as a badge of honor.
5. During WWI and WWII, Harvey Girls stepped up to do their part, often volunteering in their off hours with the local Red Cross or making sandwiches to hand out to trainloads of soldiers passing through on their way to fight.
4. Fred Harvey supplied his establishments with the finest products available. Every other year he traveled to Europe to pick out the linen tablecloths and napkins, silver serving pieces and eating utensils, crystal glassware, and china that would ensure his customers had only the best.
3. A training manual asserted the waitress was to smile, greet the customer, and be courteous throughout the meal, regardless of the customer’s conduct.
2. Laundry service was provided to ensure the cleanliness of the uniforms. Although Mr. Harvey paid a fair wage, he also had high standards when it came to keeping the uniforms in the condition he preferred.
1. Some local men, determined to improve their chances of marrying a Harvey Girl, sent off for a book called Behavior for All Occasions: A Manual of Gentlemanly Conduct in Ten Easy Lessons. Apparently it worked for over the years literally hundreds of marriages occurred between Harvey Girls and local railway workers, ranchers and businessmen.
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Guest Author Blogger:
Award-winning author ANNA SCHMIDT delights in creating stories where her characters must wrestle with the challenges of their times. Critics have consistently praised Schmidt for the reality of her characters—exposing their flaws as well as their strengths as she delivers strong tales of hope and love in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She resides in Wisconsin and Florida. Visit her online at joschmidtauthor.com.
Author: Anna Schmidt
Series: Cowboys & Harvey Girls, #1
Pub Date: January 1, 2019
MEET THE HARVEY GIRLS
These real-life pioneering women were symbols of elegance in the wild frontier: taming rough manners, falling in love, and changing the face of the West forever.
Grace Rogers is ready for the adventure of a lifetime. With her family’s farm falling on hard times, she accepts a position with the prestigious Fred Harvey Company and heads for Juniper, New Mexico. There she meets a handsome cowboy who quickly turns her head. Too bad the Harvey Girls are forbidden to marry...
Nick Hopkins has a plan: buy a little land, marry, and raise a family—in that order. But after meeting Grace, he can’t keep away. Their only choice is to marry in secret...but Nick isn’t the only man entranced by Grace’s charms, and this unexpected rival doesn’t plan on taking no for an answer. He will have her, no matter the cost: to Grace, to Juniper, or to the happily ever after Grace and Nick fought so hard to make their own.
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