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Jennifer Fronc

Professor of History

Book cover of Jennifer Fronc's book "New York Under Cover"

(413) 545-2207

Herter Hall 721

B.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1996); M.A., New School for Social Research (1999); Ph.D., Columbia University (2005).

Professor 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. Professor Fronc 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 United States 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