Project Staff

Diane Mutti Burke is the chair of the UMKC History Department and the director of the Center for Midwestern Studies. Mutti Burke’s scholarship focuses on slavery, women, and the Civil War in Missouri. She is the author of On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small-Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865the co-editor of Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border, and Wide-Open Town: Kansas City during the Pendergast Era.  Mutti Burke has been awarded a number of Landmarks of American History and Culture grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including the forthcoming Wide-Open Town: Kansas City in the Jazz Age and Great Depression workshop. She is deeply engaged in bringing the history of Missouri and Midwest to public audiences.

Sandra I. Enríquez is an Assistant Professor of History and the Director of the Public History Emphasis at UMKC. She is currently completing her first book titled ¡El Barrio No Se Vende!: Community-Controlled Neighborhood Preservation in El Paso, Texas. Trained as both an academic and a public historian, Enríquez has authored and collaborated on several public history projects while at UMKC including Kansas City’s Guadalupe Centers: A Century of Serving the Latino Community, the LatinxKC Oral History Project , and Profiles in Kansas City Activism.

Brian Grubbs is the Local History & Genealogy manager at the Springfield-Greene County Library District.  Through this career, Grubbs has led several local, regional and statewide digitization projects.  Most recently, he served as director of the statewide World War I digitization project, Over There: Missouri and the Great War. This project received the 2016 Award of Merit from American Association for State and Local History.  The award, part of AASLH’s Leadership in History awards, is the nation’s most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state and local history.  For his work in the digitization field, Grubbs was named one of Library Journal’s 2016 Movers & Shakers, which recognizes leaders within the library profession.

David LaCrone is the Digital Branch Manager at the Kansas City Public Library, where his role is to create pleasant and rewarding experiences for library patrons through the provision of e-content, topical websites and research tools. He also oversees the Library’s suite of custom digital history projects, including the award-winning Civil War on the Western Border and The Pendergast Years. Throughout 20 years of experience in public and academic libraries, he has developed expertise in multi-institutional digitization projects, platform migrations and website development. LaCrone holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.S. from the University of Michigan School of Information.

Jason Roe is the Digital History Specialist at the Kansas City Public Library, and content manager and editor for the award-winning website, The Pendergast Years. He is the co-editor of Wide-Open Town: Kansas City in the Pendergast Era recipient of the 2019 Book Award from the Missouri Conference on History. He authored the Library’s popular column, “This Week in Kansas City History,” and is content manager and editor for the award-winning website, Civil War on the Western Border. He is on the boards of directors for the Jackson County Historical Society and the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City. Prior to joining the Library, he earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Kansas in May 2012.

Katie Sowder is a Digital History Associate at the Kansas City Public Library and has worked with the library’s digital branch and Missouri Valley Special Collections to digitize archival collections, conduct research, and create metadata for numerous digital history projects, including The Pendergast Years,, and the 1940 Tax Assessment Photograph Collection. She received a BA from DePaul University and an MLIS from the University of Missouri School of Information Science & Learning Technologies.