CLAY S. JENKINSON brought history to the stage with, “Thomas Jefferson: Architect and Palladian Scholar”


Clay Jenkinson is a humanities scholar, author and social commentator who has devoted most of his professional career to public humanities programs and is considered one of the most entertaining public speakers in the United States.  His performances are always humorous, educational, thought provoking and enlightening, while maintaining a steady focus on ideas.  Jenkinson is widely regarded as one of the most articulate public speakers in the country and he brings a humanities perspective – partly learned as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University – to everything he does.


Clay 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 20 years.  He also portrays Theodore Roosevelt, Meriwether Lewis, John Wesley Powell, J. and Robert Oppenheimer, hosts the nationally broadcast weekly radio program The Thomas Jefferson Hour, and it the author of such books as The Character of Meriwether Lewis-explorer in the Wilderness, Becoming Jefferson’s People:  Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century, and Theodore Roosevelt in the Dakota Badlands.

He is the Director of Dakota Sky Education, Inc., Chief Consultant for the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University, and a consultant for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation.

He lives in Bismark, North Dakota but can draw a breathtaking crowd in Virginia, a state somewhat partial to the man he brought to life in a conversation with the Chrysler Museum of Art’s Director, Erik Neil–

Thomas Jefferson himself.


IMG_5396Director Neil and Mister Jefferson took the stage on 20 November 2019 at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera house, with more than eight hundred Jefferson enthusiasts in attendance, for an unusually long (by NSA standards) “lecture” of seventy-five minutes, including a Q&A with Mister Jefferson after the talk.

We were honored to have Mr. Jenkinson in Norfolk with us, and many thanks go out to him, as well as the Virginia Opera, whose collaboration allowed us a larger venue for the event.

And a huge thanks to the Chrysler Museum of Art, where afterwards their special exhibit, “Thomas Jefferson, Architect:  Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals,” running from October 2019 through January 2020, could be enjoyed by anyone interested in further study.

During his presentation, Mister Jefferson commented, looking out from the stage, that, had he known the crowd was to be so large, he might not have come.  He claimed he is shy.  It did not show.  His presentation and presence enthralled.

Many thanks, Clay Jenkinson. IMG_0083

And to our devoted NSA membership, whose support made this free and open to the public lecture possible.

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