Dayton Duncan

American Screenwriter and Producer

About Dayton Duncan

Dayton Duncan is an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker.

He is the author of twelve books, five of which are companion books to documentary films he wrote and produced:Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery; Mark Twain; Horatio's Drive; The National Parks: America's Best Idea; and The Dust Bowl.

Dayton has published two books for young readers: People of the West, was named a Notable Children's Trade Book by the National Council of Social Studies and the Children's Book Council, and The West: An Illustrated History for Children, was selected by The New Yorker magazine for its "short list" of the 16 best children's books of 1996 and won a Western Heritage award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Articles of his have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, American Heritage magazine, The Old Farmer's Almanac, and many other publications.

Duncan has also been involved for many years with the award-winning work of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. The latest film, Country Music follows the evolution of country music, tracing its origins in minstrel music, ballads, hymns, and the blues, and its early years when it was called hillbilly music played across the airwaves on radio station barn dances. Duncan was co-writer and consulting producer of THE WEST, a 12-hour series about the history of the American West, the writer and producer of LEWIS & CLARK: THE JOURNEY OF THE CORPS OF DISCOVERY, co-writer and producer of MARK TWAIN, a four-hour film biography of the great American humorist. HORATIO'S DRIVE, about the first transcontinental automobile trip, which he wrote and produced, won a Christopher Award. THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA, which he wrote and produced, won two Emmy awards – for outstanding nonfiction series and outstanding writing for nonfiction programming. THE DUST BOWL, a two-part series about the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, won a CINE Golden Eagle and a Western Heritage award.

Duncan has also served as a consultant or consulting producing on all of Burns's other documentaries, beginning with THE CIVIL WAR and including BASEBALL, JAZZ, and THE WAR, among others.

In politics, Duncan served as chief of staff to New Hampshire Gov. Hugh Gallen; deputy national press secretary for Walter Mondale's presidential campaign in 1984; and national press secretary for Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential campaign. President Clinton appointed him chair of the American Heritage Rivers Advisory Committee and Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt appointed him as a director of the National Park Foundation. In the spring of 2009, along with Burns, the director of the National Park Service named Duncan as an Honorary Park Ranger, an honor bestowed on fewer than 50 people in history.