As part of the official events for Dodge City Days, the Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau and Depot Theater Company will be hosting "The Harvey Girls" at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at the El Vaquero Room in the Depot Theater, 201 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd.

The presentation and discussion will be made by Michaeline Chance-Reay.

According to Colleen Hastings with the CVB, The Harvey House chain of restaurants got its start in Topeka when Fred Harvey opened a café for people traveling the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Preferring the term "Harvey Girl" to waitress, he recruited single women to work at his restaurants that gradually sprang up all the way to California and Texas. This presentation explores the job duties and working conditions of Harvey Girls from 1876 to the early 1950s.

A teacher of women’s studies and education at Kansas State University, Chance-Reay's current research focuses on the Harvey Girls and historic sites on the K-State campus, especially those related to women.

"Women in the 19th and early 20th centuries who wanted jobs or careers outside of the home had few choices," said Chance-Reay. "But the Harvey Company offered unique opportunities. It was demanding work, but it provided a decent salary in a protected environment, in addition to travel and adventure."

Featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement, "The Harvey Girls" is part of Humanities Kansas's Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau.

Members of the community are invited to attend the free program.

For more information about "The Harvey Girls" in Dodge City, contact the Dodge City CVB at 620-225-8191 or visit www.visitdodgecity.org.

 

To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.