The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound is a new documentary film that explores how starting in the 1880’s, over 100,000 brave young women, Harvey Girls as they were called, made an unusual decision to leave home and travel west to work as waitresses along the transcontinental railroad opening the doors of both the West and the workplace to women.
In 1946, MGM turned the Harvey Girls into legend when they released the motion picture The Harvey Girls starring Judy Garland. Until now, this fictional Hollywood movie has been the only film to immortalize the Harvey Girls. Opportunity Bound examines this important part of America’s history in much greater depth, and tells the story of the Harvey Girls using the voices of those closest to them, including rare interviews with the few remaining Harvey Girls and author and expert on Fred Harvey, Stephen Fried.
In addition, the film explores the life of Fred Harvey and his company which left its mark by not only providing work opportunities for women, but by being among the first companies to promote cultural diversity in the workplace by hiring Hispanic and Native American women to be waitresses along with their Anglo peers. The Harvey Girls, whose workforce continued to flourish until the 1960s, were true pioneers and set a new standard of excellence for women in the workplace, paving the way for generations of independent young women to come. This is their story!