People Behind the Posts

Todd Maxwell Pelfrey is the Executive Director of the History Center. He holds a M.A. in American and Public History from the University of North Dakota and a B.A. in History and International Business from Muskingum College. Todd also serves on the Board of Directors for the Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust and the Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor Commission.

John D. Beatty is a reference librarian and bibliographer for the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. He served on the History Center's Board of Directors and chaired its Collections Committee. John holds an A.B. in History and A.M.s in both History and Library Science from the University of Michigan. He is the author of several books and articles on local history and genealogy, including most recently serving as co-editor of the two-volume History of Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, published in 2006.

Scott Bushnell is a member of the History Center's Board of Directors.

Tom Castaldi, a History Center board member, is Allen County (Indiana) Historian. Retired as an Essex Group vice president in 1998, he has authored several books and articles about the Wabash Erie Canal. Tom currently hosts "On the Heritage Trail," which broadcasts on WBOI, 89.1 FM and "Historia Nostra" heard on WLYV-1450 AM

Jennifer Balliet Milholland is a past member of the History Center’s Board of Directors. She majored in art and literature at Saint Francis College in Fort Wayne, studied the Renaissance and Reformation at The Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Keble College, Oxford University, and holds an A.M. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, where she concentrated on medieval literature and culture. She is currently a marketing manager and writer for a Fortune 500 company.

Nancy McCammon-Hansen is the Marketing Coordinator for The History Center, and is glad to be using her minor in History from the University of Nebraska in Kearney by writing for our blog. Nancy majored in journalism and has worked in the media, marketing and public relations for the bulk of her career. She loves to read, including history and politics, is convener of the local area League of Women Voters, and pursues other volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas as time permits. She’s enjoyed learning more about the history of the city she moved to a little over 7 years ago and encourages parents in particular to utilize the History Center’s blog as the basis for educational day trips around the city with their children.

Peggy Seigel has published articles on a variety of topics relating to Fort Wayne history. Her interests include Civil War nurses, the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement, and women and African Americans as industrial workers. She has written two articles about Eliza George for Old Fort News. Articles related to suffrage are featured in History of Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, v. I, and in the September 2006 Indiana Magazine of History. A former English teacher with degrees from the University of Michigan (A.B., English), Georgetown University (M.S., Italian) and Butler University (M.A., English), she is a past board member of the History Center and the African/African-American Historical Museum.

Marsha Smiley has served on the boards of the History Center and the African/African-American Historical Society. She holds a BA in History from Indiana University, Bloomington. She has written, directed, and produced two history-focused plays for youths: “From Activists to Powerbrokers: Voices Inspiring Our Hearts” and “Reclaiming Our Rich Legacy.” She has received numerous awards for her extensive volunteer work with youth. She volunteered for Projects READS for a decade. In 1999 she founded “Spirit Flight,” an educational program which interweaves African-American history with the study of virtues. At the Fort Wayne Boys & Girls Club, she presently facilitates literacy programming for children and teens.