Sigurd Anderson

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Sigurd Anderson
Sigurd Anderson.jpg
19th Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 2, 1951 – January 4, 1955
Preceded by George T. Mickelson
Succeeded by Joe Foss
Attorney General of South Dakota
In office
Preceded by George T. Mickelson
Succeeded by Ralph A. Dunham
Personal details
Born (1904-01-22)January 22, 1904
Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway
Died December 21, 1990(1990-12-21) (aged 86)
Webster, South Dakota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Vivian Walz
Alma mater University of South Dakota School of Law
Profession Attorney

Sigurd Anderson (January 22, 1904 – December 21, 1990) was the 19th Governor of South Dakota. Anderson, a Republican from Webster, South Dakota, served in that office from 1951 to 1955.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born at Frolands Verk, a rural community near Arendal, in the county of Aust-Agder, Norway and came to the United States at age of three with his family to settle in Lincoln County, South Dakota. Sigurd became a United States citizen at age 8 when his father became a naturalized citizen.[2] He graduated from the Canton Lutheran Normal, Canton, South Dakota, and enrolled at South Dakota State College.[3] During his first school year, he suffered from scarlet fever, which prevented his return to college the following fall. In order to secure funds to continue his education, he worked as a farm hand and taught rural school in Kingsbury County, South Dakota. In 1928, Anderson enrolled at the University of South Dakota, and graduated in 1931 with cum laude honors[4] and a B.A. degree and then went on to earn his LL.B degree from University of South Dakota School of Law. In 1937 he married Vivian Walz of Vermillion, South Dakota and began practicing law in Webster. Their daughter, Kristin Karen, was born during Anderson's administration.


He twice served as Day County state's attorney and as an assistant attorney general in the state capital, Pierre. Before he was elected governor he served two terms as South Dakota Attorney General, 1947–1951.[3]

His re-election in 1952 marked the first time a candidate for South Dakota governor received more than 200,000 votes in a general election. This was not accomplished again until Mike Rounds' reelection in 2006, over fifty years later. It was during Anderson's administration that the Legislative Research Council was established. It was also during this time that the state had a debt-free status—the first time in 40 years.[4]

After his service as governor, he served as a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission.[5]

In 1964, Anderson once again announced his candidacy for governor, but lost the GOP gubernatorial primary to Nils Boe, who won the general election. Boe appointed Anderson to fill a vacancy as a circuit judge, from which position Anderson retired in 1975.[2]

Death and legacy[edit]

Anderson died on December 21, 1990, and was interred in Webster Cemetery, Webster, Day County, South Dakota US. Sigurd received dozens of professional and political honors and was a member of numerous organizations.[4] He was a member of the Lutheran Church, Masonic Lodge and affiliated bodies, Phi Beta Kappa Fraternity, Delta Theta Phi Fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, Veterans of Foreign Wars and many others. The Sigurd Anderson airport in Webster, South Dakota is named in his honor.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Governor Sigurd Anderson (South Dakota History)
  2. ^ a b "Sigurd Anderson". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b South Dakota Manual, 1951, p. 428
  4. ^ a b c SDSU Archives & Special Collections: MA 13 Sigurd Anderson Papers
  5. ^ South Dakota Legislative Manual, 1973, p. 127.
  6. ^ South Dakota Legislative Manual, 1973, p. 127-128.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
George T. Mickelson
Attorney General of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Ralph A. Durham
Political offices
Preceded by
George T. Mickelson
Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Joe Foss