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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Jennifer Fronc


Associate Professor

Office: Herter 721
Telephone: (413) 545-2207
Fax: (413) 545-6137


Ph.D., Columbia University (2005)

M.A., New School for Social Research (1999)

B.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1996)

Jennifer Fronc is a historian of the twentieth-century United States, specializing in social activism in the urban environment.  She is the author of New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era, which examines private organizations that empowered themselves to police sexual behavior, interracial sociability, and radical political commitments in the two decades before World War I, laying the foundation for the modern national security state.  Her forthcoming book, Monitoring the Movies: Film Censorship in Urban America, 1895-1927, examines the national campaign against legal censorship of motion pictures. Jennifer is also a public historian; she serves as Consulting Scholar for the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and regularly participates in the UMASS History Institute and professional development programs through the Collaborative for Educational Exchange. 


Research Areas:

20th century U.S. History

Urban History

Immigration, Ethnic, and Working-Class History

Policing and Surveillance

History of Censorship



New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era.  University of Chicago Press, 2009. 

“Local Public Opinion: The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Fight against Film Censorship in Virginia, 1916-1922.” Journal of American Studies.

“The Horns of the Dilemma: Race Mixing and the Enforcement of Jim Crow in New York City.” Journal of Urban History.


Courses Recently Taught:

U.S. Immigration History

U.S. Thought and Culture

History of Censorship

History of Crime and Punishment