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Author/Actor Clay Jenkinson to Debut Book At Crystal Lake Public Library

Historical impersonator is in town for a premiere book signing at the Crystal Lake Public Library and performances at the Raue Center for the Arts.

Author and historical impersonator Clay Jenkinson lives in his beloved home state of North Dakota, but he’s chosen to debut his new book about Meriwether Lewis.

Jenkinson, 56, of Bismarck, scheduled the nationwide release of his latest work, The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness, from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the , 126 Paddock St.

Jenkinson will be on hand for book signings, said Linda Price, library public relations coordinator.

“This book signing is significant because this is the national debut of his book,” Price said. “It’s coming off the presses, and they’re sending it here. You can’t get it on Amazon, or in a book store.”

Jenkinson coordinated the library appearance with his trip to Crystal Lake as he is scheduled to perform both Friday and Saturday at the , 26 N. Williams St.

In Clay Jenkinson’s Many Sides, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, the actor takes on many characters. Jenkinson adopts one of his standard personas at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in What Would Teddy Do? The show offers a “speculative look” at what the late President Theodore Roosevelt would do in the face of today’s challenges.

The Raue stage lineup describes Jenkinson’s performances as “always humorous, educational, thought-provoking and enlightening.”

Performances Benefit Raue, Library

This weekend marks Jenkinson’s ninth year performing as part of the Raue’s Great American Series. The shows are a joint fundraiser for the Raue and the Crystal Lake Library Foundation. As a humanities scholar and actor, Jenkinson is known for his appearances in several Ken Burns Public Broadcasting System series, Price said.

“Jenkinson is a performer who has been honored at the White House, but he’s also appeared as a guest on the Stephen Colbert television show,” Price said. “The joint fundraiser has become somewhat of a tradition. Each year is different.”

Nancy Franke, publicist for Jenkinson, said the reason the author/actor chose Crystal Lake for the release is simple: the library staff had the foresight to coordinate both events, Franke said.

“Linda Price spearheaded the book signing,” Franke said. “We usually sell the books at Clay’s performances, but having the release at the library has really opened this up to the general public. We’re really excited and very appreciative for this opportunity.”

Jenkinson's New Book

The new book, which chronicles Lewis’ life as an explorer and his death, is Jenkinson’s eighth publication. His previous work includes: A Free and Hardy Life: Theodore Roosevelt’s Sojourn in the American West, Becoming Jefferson’s People: Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century, and Message on the Wind: A Spiritual Odyssey on the Northern Plains.

When writing this latest publication, Jenkinson said he initially intended to do a simple rewrite of a shorter Meriwether Lewis book he wrote years ago. But once he started on the project, he realized he had an abundance of information to share.

“I knew that I was not yet satisfied that I understood Meriwether Lewis, but that I had a lot to say about him that I never committed to paper,” Jenkinson said in a press release. “I decided to back up and start over and go to the mat and try to say what I had to say about Lewis and not settle for a treatment or extended essay, but to try to do the best scholarly work of my life.”

Jenkinson said he has been thinking about Lewis for more than 30 years, sometimes intensely. He has traveled the entire Lewis and Clark Trail — by car, boat, canoe, kayak, on foot and in the air, the press release said.

“This is not like taking on something entirely new and then working up some knowledge about it,” Jenkinson said. “I have lived Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and Clark for most of my adult life.”

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