Tonganoxie Community Historical Society to have presentation on Harvey Girls
The Tonganoxie Community Historical Society will be the host for “The Harvey Girls’ Service with Style,” a presentation and discussion by Michaeline Chance-Reay during the historical society’s monthly meeting starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the historic site, 201 W. Washington St.
Chance-Reay will discuss the professional waitress positions available in the Harvey House chain of restaurants along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad lines from 1876 to early 1950s. She also will explore job duties, pay scales and working conditions of Harvey Girls compared with other occupations available for single women during that time period.
Chance-Reay teaches courses in women’s studies and education at Kansas State University. Her current research focuses on the Harvey Girls and historic sites on the K-State campus, especially those related to women.
“I became interested in the Harvey Girls when I visited the Grand Canyon and saw their exhibit,” Chance-Reay said. “How wonderful it was to discover ‘it all started in Topeka’ with Fred Harvey’s restaurant. The real success can be attributed not only to the food offered, but also to the over 100,000 lovely women employees who guaranteed repeat customers and made history.”
The program, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Kansas Humanties Council’s “The Way We Worked” Speakers Bureau.