This article explores girls’ participation in 1976 American Revolution Bicentennial celebrations through their national organizations. Members of the Girl Scouts and the Camp Fire Girls were deeply involved in the nation’s displays of civic pride. Girls’ organizations linked their ordinary service projects to the Bicentennial and created new projects as they caught the national bandwagon. To some extent, these efforts emphasized unquestioning patriotism, but each organization, propelled by second-wave feminism and social history, also absorbed and advanced efforts to recover multiple perspectives. Girls’ organizations became public history spaces and girls in them saw the understanding of and dissemination of history as an important part of female citizenship.
Finding “Hidden Heroines”: Girls’ Organizations, Public History, and the 1976 American Bicentennial
Jennifer Helgren is professor of history at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California where she teaches public history, US History, and women’s history. Her most recent book is American Girls and Global Responsibility: A New Relation to the World During the Early Cold War (Rutgers, 2017). She works on the Digital Delta Project at University of the Pacific and co-created Little Manila Recreated, a virtual reality game on display at the Filipino American National Historical Society Museum in Stockton, California.
I gratefully acknowledge Teresa Bergman, Lisa Jacobson, Susan Eckelmann Berghel, and the anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful feedback on this article.
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Jennifer Helgren; Finding “Hidden Heroines”: Girls’ Organizations, Public History, and the 1976 American Bicentennial. The Public Historian 1 February 2021; 43 (1): 102–122. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2021.43.1.102
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