Lawrence Celani grew up in Rhode Island and moved to Columbia in 2015 to pursue a doctorate in history from the University of Missouri. His dissertation centers on the early American republic, and looks at the subjects of slavery, politics, and economy in Illinois and Missouri. Celani also holds a B.A. in history and philosophy from the University of Rhode Island, and an M.A. in American history from Providence College. He joined the State Historical Society of Missouri in August 2019 as the James W. Goodrich Research Fellow.