This lovely "Harvey Girl" mug style coffee cup is one of the more sought-after china patterns made for an entrepreneur named Fred Harvey, who operated eating houses along the route of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in the southwest United States.
It is in superb condition with NO cracks, chips, flakes or repairs. The glaze is sound and strong and the design is crisp and clear. There are no signs of aging. On this particular mug -- which could have been used with or without a saucer -- the waitress faces right. There is a variation in which the waitress faces left.
Made by Jackson China, the P11 date code stands for November, 1966.
BACKGROUND: During the 1880s and 1890s, an enterprising man named Fred Harvey opened and operated eating houses along the route of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in the southwest United States. As railroading expanded during the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th, Harvey’s operations earned him a niche in history as an important contributor to American railway passenger travel, expanding into over-the-rails dining car operations aboard the Santa Fe, and then further expanding into hotels called Harvey Houses at strategic locations along the AT&SF route. At its heyday, there were 84 Harvey Houses, all of which catered to wealthy and middle-class visitors alike. The business continued to be operated by Harvey's sons and grandsons until 1968 when it was sold to a Hawaiian-based company.
“Harvey Girls” were the waitresses who worked in Harvey operations. They were chosen from among the ladies who answered Harvey’s advertisement for “young women of good character, attractive and intelligent.” Between the ages of 18 and 30, they not only underwent intensive training for the job, they were required to promise to work for at least a year without marrying while living under the supervision of a matron. The success of Fred Harvey Houses depended greatly on these young women, whose total numbers were in the thousands. Avid Fred Harvey collectors will be familiar with an early motion picture titled “The Harvey Girls,” starring Judy Garland.
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