Faculty in the Department of History

Jeff Wiltse

Jeff Wiltse

Professor of History

Office: LA 251
Email: jeff.wiltse@mso.umt.edu
Office Hours:

All office hours for the Fall 2020 semester will be conducted via Zoom.

Tuesdays: 2:00-3:00 pm (use this link to enter the "waiting room" for this time)

Thursdays: 10:00-11:00 pm (use this link to enter the "waiting room for this time)


Personal Website

Personal Summary

Jeff Wiltse's research explores the social, cultural, and political dimensions of public life in America from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. My current project, tentatively titled "In and Out of Harmony: Music and Public Life in Urban America, 1840-1930," examines the role that music played in shaping the public life of American cities.

Professor Wiltse advises graduate students studying modern United States history, especially those working in the areas of urban space, recreation and sports, and Montana history. Please contact him by email if you are interested in working with him as a graduate student.

Field of Study

Modern American Social and Cultural History; Public Space and Public Life; Montana History


Ph.D., Brandeis University, 2002
M.A., Brandeis University, 1998
B.A., University of Puget Sound, 1993

Selected Publications

Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

"Cities are Alive with the Sound of Music: Saengerfest and the Transformation of Urban Public Music in Nineteenth-century America," American Nineteenth Century History 16 (2015): 269-96.

"The Black-White Swimming Disparity in America: A Deadly Legacy of Swimming Pool Discrimination," Journal of Sport and Social Issues 38 (August 2014): 366-389.

"'I Like to Get Around': City Girls in Chicago Music Saloons, 1858-1906," Journal of Urban History 39 (November 2013): 1125-1145.

"Swimming Pools, Civil Life, and Social Capital," in David Andrews and Ben Carrington, eds., A Companion to Sport (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2013): 287-304.

"The Origins of Montana's Corrupt Practices Act: A More Complete History," Montana Law Review 73 (Summer 2012): 299-337.

"Swimming Against Segregation: The Struggle to Desegregate Pittsburgh's Municipal Pools," The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Legacies 10 (November 2010): 12-16.


American History II, 1877 to the Present

Introduction to Historical Methods

Montana History

The Birth of Modern America, 1877-1919

America in Crisis, 1919-1952

U.S. Immigration and Ethnicity

American Urban History

Movie America: Twentieth Century U.S. History through Film

The History of Now

Research in Montana History (UDW)

Industrial America, 1863-1932 (graduate colloquium)

Readings in Modern American History (graduate colloquium)


I am currently working on two projects:

  • "In and Out of Harmony: Public Music in American Cities, 1800-1930," which is a book-length project that examines how music shaped the public life of American cities during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
  • "Montana: A People's History," which is a book-length study of Montana history from the time of first human inhabitants to the present intended for both scholars and general readers