National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: June 7, 2013

National Archives at Kansas City

The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound Documentary to Debut at the National Archives in Kansas City

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City, (MO)…On Friday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives at Kansas City will screen a new documentary, The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound, directed by Katrina Parks and produced by Katrina and Michael Parks and Thaddeus Homan. Opportunity Bound explores the lives, experiences, and contribution of the Harvey Girls, servers who worked for the Fred Harvey restaurant empire and complements the Fred Harvey: The Man, the Brand, and the American West exhibition. A 6:00 p.m. reception with the panelists will precede the program.

Following the screening there will be a panel discussion with Katrina Parks, filmmaker; Stephen Fried, author of Appetite for America; Dr. Timothy Westcott, history professor at Park University; and Denise Morrison, director of collections at Union Station/Kansas City Museum.

The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound is a new documentary film that explores the Harvey Girls and how these waitresses helped open 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 Americaís 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.

This program is sponsored by Park Universityís Program of History, Union Station/Kansas City Museum, and Assertion Films, LLC. To make a reservation for this free event call 816-268-8010 or email email kansascity.educate@nara.gov.

About the Fred Harvey: The Man, the Brand, and the American West Exhibit:

Fred Harvey was a visionary businessman who changed the nature of railroad meal stops in the 1870s. His string of eating establishments, called Harvey Houses, followed the route of the Santa Fe Railroad. Prior to Fred Harvey, there were no fast-food restaurants or chain hotels guaranteeing a quality travel experience in the American West. He espoused the principles of excellent food, impeccable service, reasonable prices, and standardized service in all his restaurants.

Fred Harveyís hospitality empire eventually spanned from Ohio to California. Dotted with everything from eating houses and grand resort hotels to curio shops and specialty tourist activities, Fred Harvey created a standard of excellence in hospitality that the traveling public grew to appreciate and expect. So much that Fred Harvey inspired poems and books about his famous hospitality, and even a Hollywood movie featuring the Harvey Girls.

Fred Harvey: The Man, the Brand, and the American West will be available for viewing, Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00am-4:00pm through January 4, 2014. To schedule a group tour call 816-268-8013 or email mickey.ebert@nara.gov .

About the Panelists and Filmmakers:

Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University's graduate school of journalism. He is the author of the highly praised books Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia; Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs; The New Rabbi; and Husbandry. A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, the Pulitzer Prize of magazine writing, Fried has been a prolific writer of feature stories and personal essays for Vanity Fair, The Washington Post Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Ladies' Home Journal, and Philadelphia Magazine.

Thaddeus Homan is the producer and editor of The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound. Homan has had an extensive and diverse career in communication arts, including working for top ad agencies and running a toy company. Creating animation for the web brought a whole new dimension of creativity to his work, which led to a career in film production and editing. Homan was the co-producer, editor, and director of photography on the feature film Better Than Crazy and has directed music videos for Chuck Prophet and Stephanie Finch.

Denise Morrison is the director of collections at Union Station/Kansas City Museum. She holds a bachelorís degree in Historic Preservation and a masterís in Historical Administration. She began her career at the Kansas City Museum as an archivist. She became director of the Collections Department in 2008.

Katrina Parks is the director, writer, and executive producer of The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound. Her documentary, reality programs, and films have been broadcast on many television networks and won grants and awards. The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound is Katrinaís full-length directorial debut. She has a bachelorís degree from the University of New Mexico in painting and drawing, and a masterís degree from San Francisco State University in Film Production.

Michael Parks is the executive producer of The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound. A renaissance man, Parkís career path has taken him from working in Englandís House of Commons to successful careers in architecture, music, film, and television. Along the way he has climbed the treacherous slopes of Mt. Everest, filmed inside the Russian Kremlin, negotiated with the President and Governor of Panama and worked on Oscar-winning films.

Dr. Timothy Westcott is an associate professor in history at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. He received his doctorate from The Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has master and bachelor degrees in history. Westcott is a Gilder Lehrman fellowship recipient and has published numerous articles on the Civil War. Currently he is working on a biography of politician and journalist, George Creel.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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