If you want to book Clay S. Jenkinson for an event, or contact him for any professionally-related reason, please call or write:
Nancy Franke at (360) 805-0877
Toll Free: (888) 828-2853
Fax: (360) 794-2134
About Clay S. Jenkinson
Clay began doing a first-person characterization of Meriwether Lewis in the early 1980s as a Chautauquan for the North Dakota Humanities Council, the birthplace of the modern Chautauqua movement. Since then, Clay has continued to present historical figures in a format which has become among the most successful in the nation. A teaching format, that is bringing the humanities and history to citizens of all ages. In 1988, Clay was recognized for his groundbreaking work in the format with one of the first five National Endowment for the Humanities awards for excellence by President George H. W. Bush.
Jenkinson’s presentations of Thomas Jefferson have become the national model for scholars interpreting historical figures in the Chautauqua format. Clay appeared as Thomas Jefferson in the White House for President Clinton and distinguished guests on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the third president's birth in April 1994. This was the first public program in the humanities featured in a White House event. Clay has been heard throughout the nation as Jefferson on the weekly Thomas Jefferson Hour®. Jenkinson has first presented Jefferson in character and then visited with audiences as a public scholar of Jefferson’s ideas and views in thousands of programs throughout the United States. These programs have included:
* Supreme Court justices
* State legislative assemblies
* Gatherings of U.S. Representatives and Senators
* Maximum security prisoners
* University students
* Encampments of survivalists
* Groups numbering several thousand who came together in major cities during a tour for the Library of Congress
Jenkinson’s Chautauqua work over the last two decades has included new historical figures each year for the Great Basin Chautauqua, including Sir Francis Bacon, Jonathan Swift, J. Robert Oppenheimer, John Wesley Powell, and Jean-Jacques Rosseau. Jenkinson has presented both Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis for the North Dakota Humanities Council in a statewide tour and on several other occasions.
The late Everett C. Albers, past-executive director of the North Dakota Humanities Council, where the modern Chautauqua movement began, said of Clay, “The North Dakota Humanities Council had an idea. Jenkinson made it work.”
Clay Jenkinson Began Presenting Jefferson in Character in 1984 for a Regional Chautauqua Program.
Since then, he has made presentations in nearly every state to thousands of gatherings, including school children, supreme court justices, a gala celebration of the 250th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth at a White House event hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton, and many assemblies of state legistures.
Known by historians of Jefferson as a scholar who has read most completely in both the writings of Jefferson, much of which Mr. Jenkinson has committed to memory, and in critical sources about Jefferson, Clay Jenkinson has made presentations at Monticello, appeared as a major contributor to Ken Burns’ series, Thomas Jefferson, and works toward completion of his own biography of Jefferson. This is your gateway to Jenkinson on Jefferson.
Clay Jenkinson is a popular social commentator. While on The Thomas Jefferson Hour, Clay strictly adheres to the rules of being a humanities scholar. If you are interested in Clay's personal views, please consider reading Clay's weekly columns.
Additional Historical Figures Portrayed by Clay Jenkinson
There’s Magic in the Web of It: An Evening of Shakespeare’s Genius
Clay Jenkinson’s first love was English Renaissance literature. That’s what he studied at the University of Minnesota and then at Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Meanwhile, in his Chautauqua roles as Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, he’s become one of America’s premier elocutionists. He has a great voice, a powerful memory, and a charismatic stage presence.
This 90-minute performance features recitation of great moments in Shakespeare, commentary, biographical details, discussions of the great Shakespeare themes, and a practical guide to overcoming “Shakespeare intimidation.” Witty, probing, at times hilarious, an evening of insight, laughter, and perhaps tears, Clay’s one-man program is an unforgettable tribute to the life and work of the greatest writer in the English language.
Clay says: “Reading Hamlet for the first time as a freshman in college changed the whole trajectory of my life. During my time at Oxford I saw 34 of the 37 Shakespeare plays, including Hamlet nine times. Although I somehow slipped through the back door and became an amateur historian, my great love has always been Elizabethan and Jacobean literature. This program gives me the opportunity to explore Shakespeare’s genius at the prime of my life as a public humanities scholar.”
All Clay needs are good microphones (two), a thin but sturdy podium, modest lighting, a stool, and an open stage. The program has one 15-minute intermission. Clay appears in the first act in 21st-century lecture clothes, in the second act dressed in the manner of Hamlet: cape, bodkin, ruffled shirt, doublet, hose. The show can be tailored to the interests of different audiences: educators, poets, lovers, lawyers, politicians, colleges, and the general public. Occasionally and where appropriate, Clay likes to work with one or two local actors for two brief segments in his program. In some venues, Clay does a Q&A session in which audience members can suggest plays and scenes to discuss.
At the Same Time
Clay likes to conduct Shakespeare retreats for teachers, professors, students (K-12 or university), and the general public. These can be half a day, daylong, or two-day programs.
Clay’s Shakespeare Resume:
✓ Clay received First Class Honours at Oxford University where he read English literature.
✓ Clay wrote a 743-page treatise on the sermons of John Donne (Shakespeare’s contemporary) at Hertford College, Oxford.
✓ Clay has lectured around the country on film adaptations of Shakespeare.
✓ Clay has taught semester-long university courses on Shakespeare on half a dozen occasions.
✓ In January 2018, Clay will be conducting a humanities retreat on Shakespeare at a historic lodge west of Missoula, Montana, in the Bitterroot Mountains.
✓ Clay spends six weeks per year in Rome, where he explores the landscapes of Shakespeare’s Roman plays: Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus.
✓ Clay lectured in 2016 at the State Historical Society of North Dakota on the First Folio, during its tour of the museums in the United States
The Erasmus Project
Toll Free: (888) 828-2853
Fax: (360) 794-2134