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The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West Paperback


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The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West + Fred Harvey Houses of the Southwest [Images of America Series] + Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (July 4, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569249261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569249260
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A story that seems to have completely vanished from the national memory. For giving it new life, Poling-Kempes deserves gratitude and praise."

Jonathon Yardley --Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Lesley Poling-Kempes is the author of five award winning books about the land and people of the American Southwest. For more information about Lesley and her books please visit her website at lesleypoling-kempes.net.

More About the Author

I am currently working on "Ladies of the Canyons" under contract with the University of Arizona Press, due for release in 2015. Follow my progress on my author page on Facebook, or visit my website lesleypoling-kempes.net.

"Canyon of Remembering" is now available as an eBook. There is a reader's guide for book clubs. "Canyon" was a Western Writers of America Spur Award finalist, Best First Novel

June 2013: My second novel "Bone Horses" will be released by La Alameda Press. John Nichols wrote:

"Lesley Poling-Kempes is deservedly known for her beautiful non-fiction books about Abiquiu and the Ghost Ranch area of northern New Mexico. Her second novel, "Bone Horses" can only enhance her reputation. Her love of the land and its wild spirit shines through this tragic story with redemption at the end. It is a fine mystery, with complex twists and turns. Bone Horses is also a paean to the land and especially to its rare wild horses who symbolize all that is wonderful about our high desert country and all that needs our love and protection."

John Nichols, author of "The Milagro Beanfield War"

"Bone Horses" is a novel about history lost and found, and the real and imagined stories that bind one generation to the next.

I have lived in the region near Abiquiu, New Mexico for thirty years, sharing this magical place with my husband, Jim, our two children, and a host of dogs and cats. Writing about the place I call home -- Abiquiu and the high desert and mountain country of northern New Mexico -- is both an honor and a gift.

Writing the story of the Harvey Girls and the Santa Fe Railway introduced me to a world of people and places I would never have known about. The books "Valley of Shining Stone" and "Ghost Ranch" are both about my home country, and researching and writing these stories was challenging and remarkable.

Thanks for your interest and for reading my books. Peace.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book is interesting and easy to read.
Linda J. Shannon-hills
As someone who likes the Santa Fe and Fred Harvey, this book added a new dimension to my knowledge.
"bammerbb"
Highly recommended reading for history buffs!
J. Chambers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Millie Mom on January 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful history book disguised as a fast-moving novel.I had no knowledge of Fred Harvey's enterprises,or of the Harvey Girls,and how they affected the settling of the West along the routes of the Sante Fe Railroad. I've read extensively about the settling of the American West, but why have these people not been recognized before now? Lesley Poling-Kempes has done this country a great service by doing her extensive research on the subject of these gutsy ladies who had the courage to hop a train and set out on their own, into the uncertain world of the old West.If you enjoy reading about strong women, the settling of the American West,American entrepeneurship, or the power of the role of the railroads in shaping America, you'll enjoy this fast-paced read.It's something totally fresh and new for history buffs.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "contessa2000" on August 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have traveled throughout the Southwest for the last 20 years, and have seen references to the Harvey Girls here and there. I finally decided to read this book out of curiosity, and discovered an incredible story that is entirely left out of our history books. The story of these young women who brought gentility to the West, leaving their families and homes far behind, is fascinating and enlightening. This book is a page-turner, and the history of the Santa Fe Railroad and the Harvey Houses is something that should not be lost in the mists of time. Ms. Poling-Kempes is a gifted and entertaining writer, and I look forward to reading her other books on the Southwest.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
From the 1880's to the 1950's, the Harvey Girls went west to work in Fred Harvey's restaurants along the Santa Fe railway--from Chicago to Los Angeles.
At a time when there were "no ladies west of Dodge City and no women west of Albuquerque", they came as waitresses, but many stayed and settled, founding the struggling cattle and mining towns that dotted the region.
Poling-Kempes has created the gold standard for writing and reporting on women in the west. Aside from 10 years research, archival studies, photo retrieval, the author contacted in person and by telephone and correspondence some eighty former employees that once totaled 100,00.
This unique, unduplicated history is alive with color and original narrative. Major reviews by the NY Times, American Heritage, Parade. Writing in the Washington Post Book World Jonathon Yardley sums it up
"A story that seems to have completely vanished from the national memory; for giving it new life, Poling-Kempes deserves gratitude and praise."
Poling-Kempes has other titles on this theme:Far From Home--West By Rail With The Harvey Girls and The Golden Era--West by Rail With the Harvey Girls. Illustrations for this paper doll history are by famous fashion illustrator Lynette C. Ross. Books available from Texas Tech University Press 1-800-832-4042.
Her novel, Canyon Of Remembering and Valley of Shining of Stone-The Story of Abiquiu explore the rich and at times, mysterious, life of the Southwest.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on December 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had heard of Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls and their role in civilizing the American West, but I never knew much about the subject. Recently, on a trip to the Grand Canyon, my wife and I wandered into Bright Angel Lodge, one of the last surviving Harvey hotel/restaurants (although the Harvey family sold what was left of the chain many years ago). Inside was a memory room full of old photos and memorabilia, including the Harvey Girls. With my interest piqued, I bought "The Harvey Girls" by Lesley Poling-Kempes. The book is well written, giving a fascinating look at how Fred Harvey developed and ran dozens of hotels and restaurants along the routes of the Santa Fe Railroad in the west and southwest.

Ms. Poling-Kempes did a nice job of researching the life and times of the Harvey houses and the Harvey Girls who worked in them. A number of factors resulted in the gradual demise of the Harvey houses, and most of them have been destroyed, but "The Harvey Girls" very effectively recreates the era, and the numerous old photos in the book contribute greatly to imagining how it was in those days.

Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls may not have singlehandedly tamed the West, but they certainly made a significant contribution, and Ms. Poling-Kempes deserves an "A" for documenting this fascinating footnote on the history of the American West.

Highly recommended reading for history buffs!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "bammerbb" on July 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
As someone who likes the Santa Fe and Fred Harvey, this book added a new dimension to my knowledge. I applaud Ms. Poling-Kempes' research, and I truly think the oral form she used was the correct way to bring the memories of former Harvey Girls to life. I believe this book could be used as suggested reading in an American History class, as it shows one facet of the development of the west. Also, it shows in places, the goodness of these largely unsung women (and even a few Harvey officials who were men), the goodness this country is rightly proud. I would recommend this book to anyone who has even a passing interest in this era of the West, railroads, and even of fine food service. I tip my cap to Ms. Poling-Kempes for a very worthwhile bood.
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