Welcome. I am a historian of U.S. women and girls with a growing interest in digital humanities. I am a Professor of History at the University of the Pacific (UOP) in Stockton, California. I serve as Chair of the History Department and as a member of UOP’s Gender Studies Board.

Scholarship: My main body of research focuses on U.S. girlhood and citizenship through the lens of youth organizations. My most recent book, The Camp Fire Girls: Gender, Race, and American Girlhood, 1910-1980 (University of Nebraska Press, 2022), traces the changing meanings of girls’ citizenship in the cultural context of the twentieth century. Drawing on girls’ scrapbooks, photographs, letters, and oral history interviews, in addition to adult voices in organization publications and speeches, The Camp Fire Girls explores critical intersections of gender, race, class, nation, and disability.

Past books include American Girls and Global Responsibility: A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War (Rutgers University Press, 2017); and Girlhood: A Global History, edited with Colleen Vasconcellos, (Rutgers University Press, 2010; Paperback, 2012)

I am also the author of numerous articles on U.S. girlhood, including “Finding ‘Hidden Heroines’: Girls’ Organizations, Public History, and the 1976 American Bicentennial,” in The Public Historian (2021); “Native American and White Camp Fire Girls Enact Modern Girlhood, 1910-39” in American Quarterly (2014); and “A ‘Very Innocent Time’: Oral History Narratives, Nostalgia and Girls’ Safety in the 1950s and 1960s,” in the Oral History Review (2015). 

Digital Humanities: I have served as a humanities consultant on numerous digital history projects on California and University history at UOP, including Kizuna: Bonds Beyond Pacific (Summer 2022 Library Fellowship), Tiger Strides: Walk with Me (Summer 2021 Library Fellowship), and the Digital Delta Project Website (2017). Little Manila Recreated, a virtual reality game and exhibit on display at the Filipino American National Historical Society, was a California Humanities Grant-funded project.

Currently enrolled in the Graduate Certificate Program in Digital Humanities at George Mason University (GMU), I am building my skill set to lead student-faculty collaborative digital scholarship projects.  GMU offers the opportunity to learn from digital humanities scholars, practitioners, and fellow learners to develop new methodologies and storytelling practices through digital technologies.

My most recent project, Mapping Japanese American Students’ Journeys, uses Esri’s ArcGIS StoryMaps to map the history of UOP’s Japanese American students and their forced relocation during World War II.

For a full list of my work, please see my CV.

Contact me: jhelgren@pacific.edu