Clay Jenkinson grew up on the western plains of North Dakota, not far from Theodore Roosevelt’s badlands.
He attended the University of Minnesota, Oxford University, and the University of Colorado. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. All of his degrees are in Renaissance English literature.
Clay has won numerous awards, including the National Humanities Medal, the highest honor conferred on a public humanities scholar in the United States. He has been named Humanities Scholar of the Year in Kansas, Nevada, and North Dakota.
Clay was one of the creators of the modern Chautauqua movement. He has portrayed a dozen historical characters, including Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Meriwether Lewis, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and John Wesley Powell.
He has appeared in three Ken Burns documentary films, including the most recent film The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. He has made four documentary films himself. Clay has written nine books, including the critically acclaimed The Character of Meriwether Lewis.
Clay lives in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he is a distinguished scholar of the humanities at Bismarck State College and the founder of the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University. His deepest concerns are the education of his daughter and the future of the Great Plains.