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dc.contributor.advisorConrad, Rebecca
dc.contributor.authorHarris, Dee A.
dc.descriptionThesis (M.A.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of History
dc.description.abstractThis work provides the historical research and conceptual framework for a new interpretation of the Harvey Girls. The women who worked in Harvey eating houses were more than just waitresses -- they were Harvey Girls -- an efficient, well-trained, well-groomed corps of waitresses. The popular, romanticized image of the Harvey Girls, however, portrays these women as mythical figures who brought civilization to the ''Wild West." Over the past fifty years, the Harvey Girl has taken on a mystique that relegates her to a position based on her traditional feminine virtues, rather than her actions and abilities as a working woman. This type of image-making denies any real understanding of the concrete experiences and conditions of the Harvey Girls. This study identifies the problems with current interpretations of the Harvey Girls, and outlines concepts which can be utilized in creating interpretive museum exhibitions. Focusing on those women who worked in Kansas Harvey Houses and those who left Kansas for Harvey Houses in the Southwest, this study utilizes oral history interviews to gain a broader understanding of the real life exp~riences of the Harvey Girls. As an integral part of the Fred Harvey system and the Santa Fe Railroad, the Harvey Girls played an invaluable role, not only in women's history, but also in railroad history. Their collective experiences serve to illustrate the roles women played in the American West.
dc.description.tableofcontentsIntroduction -- The Harvey Standard, 1850 - 1957 -- "Not just the usual run of waitresses": The Harvery Grils, 1878 - 1928 -- "It was a wonderful place to work": The Harvey Girls, 1929 - 1957 -- Effecting an interpretive change: The Harvey Girls in museum exhibition -- Conclusion -- Bibliography -- Appendix A -- Appendix B
dc.format.extentvi, 121 pages
dc.publisherWichita State University
dc.rightsWichita State University
dc.subject.lcshElectronic dissertations
dc.titleMore than beefsteak and a cup of coffee: Reinterpreting the Harvey Girls in Kansas

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  • HIS Theses
  • LAS Theses and Dissertations
    Theses and dissertations completed at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Fall 2005 -)
  • Master's Theses
    This collection includes Master's theses completed at the Wichita State University Graduate School (Fall 2005 -- current) as well as selected historical theses.

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