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Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library names 'inaugural historian in residence'

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library names 'inaugural historian in residence'

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Organizers of the planned Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in the western North Dakota Badlands have named presidential historian Douglas Brinkley as the library foundation's "inaugural historian in residence."

Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and history professor at Rice University in Houston, as well as a CNN presidential historian and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He visited Medora in the 1990s while teaching at Hofstra University in New York, taking students on cross-country travels visiting historic sites.

He will live in Medora this summer and participate in book signings, lectures and interpretive history hikes. His first event is set for June 16 at the Dickinson Rotary Club.

Library CEO Ed O'Keefe said Brinkley '"is receiving a modest stipend for his time and we are providing lodging - a model we hope to replicate for future historians, scholars, writers, photographers and scientists. No state dollars will be used to compensate Doug; his stipend comes from the unrestricted funds raised by TRPLF to-date." O'Keefe did not provide the amount.

The 2019 Legislature approved a $50 million operations endowment for the library accessible after organizers raised $100 million for construction -- a fundraising goal completed last year.

As of March 31, the project had garnered more than $153.6 million in donations, signed agreements, pledges and the endowment.

Library construction could begin late this year or early next year, and will cost more than $100 million.

Congress in December passed a $2.3 trillion spending package that included new federal coronavirus aid and a provision for the sale of 93 acres of U.S. Forest Service Land for the library.

The project also extends to a Roosevelt scholars program at Dickinson State University, digitization of Roosevelt's papers at the university and partnerships with Theodore Roosevelt National Park and local ranchers and grazers.

The library will honor the 26th president, who ranched and hunted in the Medora area in the 1880s as a young man, before moving on to the White House.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or


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