Clay Jenkinson is one of the nation’s leading interpreters of Thomas Jefferson. He has lectured about and portrayed Jefferson in forty-nine states over a period of seventeen years, as well as served as consultant and principal on-air “talking head,” in Ken Bums’ Thomas Jefferson Film: 1997. Jenkinson also hosts the nationally syndicated weekly radio program The Thomas Jefferson Hour which has been on NPR stations since 1999.
Jenkinson directs the Dakota Institute of Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, which intends to foster a statewide “conversation,” using a humanities-based approach to addressing current events and what the future holds. Book publishing, documentary-making, and symposiums are among the numerous projects coordinated by the Dakota Institute with Clay Jenkinson at its helm. Through the Dakota Institute, Jenkinson recently has added documentary film maker to his list of accomplishments with the award winning documentary on former North Dakota Governor Art Link When The Landscape is Quiet Again.
Jenkinson has written “millions of words on Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, John Donne, the Great Plains, and especially North Dakota.” Most recently, Jenkinson released a second edition of The Character of Meriwether Lewis. Jenkinson writes a weekly column for the Bismarck Tribune, serves as Bismarck State College’s Distinguished Humanities Scholar and as the chief consultant for Dickinson State University’s Theodore Roosevelt Center.
With his return to his home state of North Dakota in 2006, Clay now divides his time between performing, lecturing, researching, writing, and film making to further the humanities both in his home state and across the country.