Dayton Duncan (born September 3, 1949) was the writer and co-producer of The National Parks: America's Best Idea documentary produced by Ken Burns, and has also been involved for many years with other series directed by Burns including The Civil War, Horatio's Drive, Baseball and Jazz. For the 12-hour series The West about the history of the American West, broadcast in 1996, Duncan was the co-writer and consulting producer. It won the Erik Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians.
He is the writer and producer of Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, a four-hour documentary broadcast in November 1997. The film attained the second-highest ratings (following The Civil War) in the history of PBS and won a Western Heritage award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, and a CINE Golden Eagle, as well as many other honors. He is the co-writer and producer of Mark Twain, a four-hour film biography of the great American humorist which was broadcast on PBS in 2002. His next film with Burns was Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip, about the first transcontinental automobile trip, which he wrote and produced. It won the prestigious Christopher Award and a Telly Award.
In politics, Duncan served as Chief of Staff to New Hampshire governor 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. Duncan now serves on the board of the Student Conservation Association, the National Conservation System Foundation and the New Hampshire Humanities Council.
Born and raised in Indianola, Iowa, Duncan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971 with a degree in German literature and was also a fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy. He holds honorary doctorates from Franklin Pierce College and Drake University.
For the last thirty years he has lived in New Hampshire, where he makes his home in the small town of Walpole with his wife, Dianne, and their two children.