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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Jessica Elfenbein

Title: Professor
Department: History
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-3282
Office: Gambrell Hall, Room 143
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Department of History


  • M.A., Ph.D. University of Delaware (Hagley Program)
  • M.A. George Washington University
  • A.B. Barnard College, Columbia University


A belief that history has the power to be a productive tool of community building moved me to become an historian and has informed and enriched my work in the fields of American urban and public history, and the history of philanthropy. I have published broadly about American urban life, contemporarily and historically, in a variety of formats. I have also undertaken major (and prize winning) public history initiatives and successful grant seeking, culminating in Baltimore ’68: Riots and Rebirth, which won highest program honors from both the National Council on Public History and the American Association of State and Local Historians and generated an anthology comprised of new scholarship, published by Temple University Press in 2011. My work is entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary, and collaborative and has been recognized by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, the American Academy of Religion, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, the Louisville Institute, Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector Research Fund, the Baltimore City Historical Society and the Council of Southern Graduate School/Educational Testing Services. I came to USC in 2012 after 16+ years at the University of Baltimore.

Current Activities

After 10 years in higher education administration, including having served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in 2009-10  and an Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP) Fellow for the Southeastern Conference (SEC-U) in 2015-16, I am happy to again be a faculty member where I am beginning new work on the role of mid-size Southern cities in the 20th century and organizing the 2018 meeting of the Urban History Association in Columbia, SC.