Haleigh Marcello

History Ph.D. candidate | Women's Studies Lecturer

One of my main goals as a historian is to bring my work back to the communities it came from, and into the public eye. History deserves to be known and studied not just by academics, but by the public. In my public history work, I strive to make history more accessible and engaging for everyone.

The logo for WikiEducation. White text on a black square blackground reads: "WikiEdu"

Humble Beginnings and My Work on Wikipedia

My interest in public history began while I was an undergrad at UC San Diego. I took a colloquium course on Early Modern women in Europe. Rather than following a traditional seminar format, the class was focused on a project: creating and editing Wikipedia articles for Early Modern women. I began by editing the Wikipedia article for Sarah Crosby, one of the first female Methodist preachers. When I started the article was very bare and contained inaccuracies. After doing meticulous research, I significantly expanded Crosby's article, and it was even featured on the Wikipedia homepage. I realized that my work on Wikipedia had a tremendous public impact, and was glad to teach the world more about history. While the course only required us to work on one article, I began editing another, adding to the article of Crosby's colleague, Mary Bosanquet Fletcher.

My work on Wikipedia didn't stop there. In the years past, I have edited hundreds of Wikipedia articles. I have primarily focused on start-class (or very bare) women's Wikipedia articles, adding information and making them more accessible through fixing formatting and citations. Because of my heavy involvement on the site, I was interviewed by WikiEducation in 2018.

The logo for the UCI Humanities Center, featuring a drawing of Humanities Hall.

Web Archiving, Oral History, and the Digital Humanities

During the summer of 2020, I was a Humanities Out There Public Fellow for the UC Irvine Orange County & Southeast Asian Archive Center. Under the guidance of archivists, I helped to preserve over 300 websites of Southeast Asian organizations for the Center's "Southeast Asian American Experience" collection. I researched and found websites for Southeast Asian organizations, ran web crawls for these sites, fixed these crawls to ensure that all data was captured, and added metadata for them so that these websites could be preserved for researchers.

In addition, I consulted with a group of archivists on an oral history toolkit that they were creating. Being interested in oral history myself, I provided insight into what this guide might need. I also researched digital humanities tools that could be included in the guide for users to present their research/oral histories with.

A rainbow Pride flag has eyes superimposed on top of it. Underneath the eyes, texts reads: "History Has Its Eyes"
The Irvine Watchdog logo, featuring the silhoutte of a dog and the slogan: "Transparency - Accountability - Honesty"

Op-Eds and Bringing Relevant Histories to Light

On October 8, 2020, I published an op-ed in the Irvine Watchdog, a digital community newspaper. While researching the LGBT rights movement in Orange County, California, I discovered some concerning news: the current mayor of Irvine, Christina Shea (who is up for reelection this year) was heavily involved in a homophobic organization, the Irvine Values Coalition. Shea donated thousands of dollars to this organization, wrote homophobic op-eds promoting it in the Los Angeles Times, and was instrumental in its campaign to remove discrimination protections based on sexual orientation from Irvine law. I knew that this story needed to be told, and began pitching my op-ed to several local newspapers, with the Irvine Watchdog eventually publishing it.

One of the best things about being a historian is being able to bring history back to the community it came from. I plan on continuing to publish op-eds to make the public more aware about the information I discover in my research.

The Own Your History Logo. OYH is written to the left, with the Y made into a person stretching out their arms. To the right, the logo reads: "Own Your History"

Diversifying High School History with Own Your History

In October of 2020, I began working with Own Your History as a Research Assistant and Curriculum Developer. Own Your History is a nonprofit dedicated to diversifying history and making it more accessible for high school students. The organization creates modules based on topics that are either often glossed over in history courses, or not adequately represented in standard history textbooks.

I have assisted the organization by researching primary source materials to include in their modules, as well as with helping to make sure that the information presented is historically accurate and effective for student learning.

A photo taken at the 1977 National Women's Conference, with Shirey Chisholm speaking at the podium and Bella Abzug, seated, to her left.

Using Digital Humanities for Gender History

In March of 2021, I became a collaborator on the Sharing Stories: National Women's Conference, 1977-2077 digital humanities project. The project seeks to create biographies for all of the delegates to the 1977 National Women's Conference, and to include short summaries of key issues that were discussed at the meeting. In particular, I have been working with a team of other researchers on creating biographical entries for the California delegates. Alongside Dr. Judy Wu and fellow graduate student Stephanie Narrow, I am co-authoring a piece on California women's participation at the conference for California History, and creating a document project on the same subject for Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000.

The OCS Project's Logo, which reads: "The OCS Project Curating, Creating, Collaborating."

Mentoring Students and Documenting Black Panther History

During the summer of 2021, I served as a Humanities Out There Public Fellow with the Oakland Community School Project. This project seeks to document the history of the Black Panther's Oakland Community School. I mentored undergraduate students as we worked on a documentary, digital humanities project, and a historical timeline of the Oakland Community School's history.

The logo for the LGBTQ Center Orange County. An orange circle is featured, with white text inside of it reading LGBTQ Center OC

Understanding the LGBTQ Youth Experience in Orange County

During the summer of 2021, I was a project assistant for the LGBTQ Center Orange County's Youth Oral History Project. Working alongside the University of California, Irvine's Orange County archivist Krystal Tribbett, I helped Orange County-based youth develop an oral history project, record oral history interviews, and preserve them for future generations.

Orange County Parks logo

Honoring Southern California Pioneers

During the summer of 2022, I served as a Humanities Out There Public Fellow with Orange County Parks. I primarily worked at Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens, helping create a virtual tour for the historic site. I also assisted with creating programming ideas, object inventories for items around the property, and with inputting historic items into PastPerfect 5 museum software. Additionally, I developed docent training materials for Heritage Hill Historic Park.

Telling California's Queer History

In 2023, I founded California Queer History, a soon-to-be nonprofit organization dedicated to diversifying our understanding of the queer past in the state of California. California Queer History's first initiative, the Orange County Queer History Project, is based off of my dissertation work.

For more details, visit our website.