The Last Harvey Girl

Oil on Linen 72 x 56" • © Tina Mion 2005

Working at a Harvey House — one of the hotels or restaurants built by Fred Harvey along the Santa Fe Railway through the Southwest — was often the only respectable job for adventurous young women at the turn of the 20th century. These women became so legendary that Will Rogers credited the Harvey girls with civilizing (and populating) the West. In 1946, MGM made a feature film starring Judy Garland called The Harvey Girls.

Only a handful of Harvey Girls remain. Most live in the desert towns they once escaped to. One day soon, someone will be handed a cup of tea or coffee by the last Harvey Girl and, in an anonymous kitchen or living room, an era will silently pass. I want the viewer to be the honored recipient the passing of this era. Ruby McHood, an original Harvey Girl, offers tea. In the shadows, Dorothy Hunt, another original Harvey Girl, quietly watches. Read more...

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