This is a hard to find "Harvey Girl" mug from the famous Harvey House operation that operated closely with the Southern Pacific Railroad. It is full size, for either coffee or tea. Made by Jackson China, the date code P10 translates into October, 1966.
Condition is lovely with no cracks, chips, flakes or repairs. The mug is bright and clean with good, strong glaze. The waitress decoration is crisp and clear, dramatic in black on white. This style cup is an interesting design with a fancy applied handle.
Note the waitress is facing right. A variation of this pattern has the woman facing left.
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 late 1800s-early 1900s, the role played by Harvey’s operations along the route of the Santa Fe earned him a niche in history as an important contributor to American railway passenger travel.
As head of the Fred Harvey Company, his goal was to build the finest eating establishments in the industry by serving rail passengers the best possible food in the best conditions. As rail travel grew, he expanded into over-the-rails dining car operations aboard Santa Fe trains, and then further expanded into building hotels called Harvey Houses at strategic locations along the AT&SF route. As part of the effort to provide the absolute highest quality, Harvey began advertising in the 1880s for the best service personnel, including waitresses who would be called “Harvey Girls.”
The “Harvey Girls” were chosen from those who responded to 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.
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.
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