Trost, Jennifer (Jennifer Ann Trost)

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Trost, Jennifer (Jennifer Ann Trost)


Education: Southwestern University, B.A., 1987; Carnegie Mellon University, M.S., 1990, Ph.D., 1996.


E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected].


Writer, historian, and educator. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, instructor, 1990-93; Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, FL, assistant professor, 2000-05, associate professor of history, 2005-06; Muskingum College, New Concord, OH, instructor, 2006—. Carnegie Mellon University, visiting assistant professor, 1997-98; Sweet Briar college, visiting assistant professor, 1998-99; Hiram College, visiting assistant professor, 1999-2000. Presenter at conferences and academic meetings. Director, Oral History Project, Dade City, FL.


Florida Conference of Historians, Organization of American Historians, Social Science History Association, Phi Alpha Theta.


Gateway to Justice: The Juvenile Court and Progressive Child Welfare in a Southern City, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals and journals, including Michigan Historical Review, Journal of Social History, and History Teacher.


Jennifer Trost is a writer, historian, and educator who has taught at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida, and Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A historian with wide-ranging interests, Trost has developed and presented courses in areas such as the history of consumer culture; the history of food; the history of sexuality; crime and punishment in America; the history of Florida; the family in U.S. history; aspects of poverty, charity, and welfare; women in American society; and the various methods historians use to think about history. In addition to her scholarly and academic duties, Trost also served as the director of the Oral History Project in Dade City, Florida.

Gateway to Justice: The Juvenile Court and Progressive Child Welfare in a Southern City, which originated as Trost's Ph.D. dissertation, contains the author's detailed assessment of the history and nature of the juvenile court system in Memphis, Tennessee, during the 1920s. On a larger level, Trost also examines a multitude of other social, political, and historical factors that influenced juvenile justice, law enforcement, the application of law, and the behavior of individuals and the court during this time period. The book "meets a longstanding need for a study of the development of the juvenile justice system in the context of the American South," noted Stephen Robertson, writing in the Journal of Social History. Throughout, Trost also "argues that several features of the city's juvenile court were distinctively southern, of which the treatment of race emerges most clearly in the book," Robertson reported.

Trost's analysis uncovered ways in which the Memphis juvenile justice system mirrored such systems in other parts of the country, in areas such as the "important role of middle-class reformers, particularly women; the incorporation of psychiatric evaluations; an increasingly professional staff; and a concern with efficiency," Robertson noted. However, the racial component that was unique to the Memphis system made it distinct from its counterparts elsewhere in the United States. For example, within the juvenile justice system, blacks were segregated, and cases involving black children were heard on days other than those involving white children. Detention facilities were segregated, and fewer resources were allotted to aiding black children. The court was especially attentive to the sexual behavior of white girls under its purview, but was generally only concerned with the criminal behavior of black girls. On the whole, black youth in the Memphis juvenile justice system faced more serious charges than white youngsters. With this book, "Trost's achievement is not simply to give us a picture of a southern court, but to reconceptualize how juvenile courts are viewed," Robertson stated. Anne Meis Knupfer, writing in the Journal of American History, called it "an important addition to legal history scholarship."



American Historical Review, February, 2006, Christopher Waldrep, review of Gateway to Justice: The Juvenile Court and Progressive Child Welfare in a Southern City, p. 207.

Arkansas Historical Quarterly, spring, 2006, G. Wayne Dowdy, review of Gateway to Justice, p. 82.

Deakin Law Review, July, 2006, Gilles Renaud, review of Gateway to Justice, p. 187.

Journal of American History, March, 2006, Anne Meis Knupfer, review of Gateway to Justice, p. 1471.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 2006, Kathleen W. Jones, review of Gateway to Justice, p. 316.

Journal of Social History, spring, 2007, Stephen Robertson, review of Gateway to Justice, p. 772.

Journal of Southern History, November, 2006, Karen Kruse Thomas, review of Gateway to Justice, p. 974.


Saint Leo University Web site, (May 28, 2008), author profile.