Theodore B. Jelliff

The Alexander Griggs Award was presented posthumously to Theodore B. Jelliff in recognition of his great love for Grand Forks and his dedication to preserving and sharing its rich history.

Ted Jelliff lived and breathed North Dakota history.  Nature, intellect, and training merged in Ted to create a talented teacher and an astute historian and author.  His classroom work and his North Dakota history books awakened generations to our shared history as North Dakotans.

 A UND graduate with a political science degree, Ted Jelliff taught in Niagara, ND, Grand Forks Central High School, and then Red River High School from its opening in 1967 to his retirement in 1993.  Hundreds of students were inspired by his enthusiasm and benefited from his knowledge of U.S. government and North Dakota history. 

 Ted Jelliff’s permanent legacy is embodied in his published works: North Dakota: A Heritage of a People, co-authored with D. Jerome Tweton, 1976; North Dakota A Living Legacy, 1983; North Dakota Legendary, co-authored with Neil D. Howe, 2007; and The First 100 Years: Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, 2009.

 Ted especially loved Grand Forks.  His passion for his birthplace was evident in his dedicated work as a commissioner with the Grand Forks Historic Preservation Commission from 1993 to 2010, and as Director of the Grand Forks County Historical Society from 1993 to 2002.  As a child, Ted explored our city streets and alleyways.  He willingly shared his intimate and vast knowledge of city buildings and residences with the Commission, particularly during post-flood rebuilding, and he developed informative exhibits on the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Golf Course, and Grand Forks hockey, baseball and skiing.

Ted Jelliff’s significant commitment to the interpretation and preservation of North Dakota history has been extraordinary.  We are proud to recognize Mr. Jelliff’s life work with the Alexander Griggs Award.