Sigurd Anderson, the 19th governor of South Dakota, was born on an island near of city of Arendal, Norway, on January 22, 1904. His parents were Karl and Bertha Anderson. His family came to America in 1908 and settled on a farm 10 miles southwest of Canton, in Lincoln County, South Dakota. Anderson attended Pleasant Ridge School, District No. 11 and graduated from the high school in 1925. That same year the Anderson family moved to a farm in Kingsbury County, near Bancroft, South Dakota. In the fall of 1925, Sigurd entered South Dakota State College. He was very active in public speaking, literary and journalistic activities. During this 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, SD. In 1928, Anderson enrolled at the University of South Dakota [USD], and graduated in 1931 with cum laude honors.
After his graduation, he taught high school history in Rapid City and Webster, South Dakota. In 1935, he returned to USD and graduated in 1937 with a degree in law. Prior to graduation from the university he married Vivian Walz of Vermillion, SD. They had one daughter, Kristin, who resides in Okemos, Michigan.
Anderson set up a law practice in Webster, SD in 1937 and was twice elected Day County state's attorney. In 1950, Anderson was elected governor of South Dakota after winning the GOP nomination in a five-way battle. His re-election in 1952 marked the only time a candidate for South Dakota governor has received more than 200,000 votes in a general election. It was during his 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.
After Anderson's second term ended, he was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve on the Federal Trade Commission [FTC]. He was re-appointed in 1958 to a 7-year term, and resigned from the FTC in 1964 to return to Webster, where he resumed his law practice.
In 1964, Anderson once again announced his candidacy for governor, but lost the GOP gubernatorial primary to Nils Boe, who later became governor. Boe appointed Anderson to fill a vacancy as a circuit judge. Anderson retired as a circuit judge in 1975. Sigurd received dozens of professional and political honors and was a member of numerous organizations.
Sigurd Anderson died December 21, 1990.