[Constitution, Article V, Section l; NDCC Chapter 54-07]
The office of the Governor was created by the North Dakota State Constitution in 1889. The Governor was elected to a two-year term until passage of a constitutional amendment in 1964 established a four-year term of office. A constitutional amendment approved in 1974 requires the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor to be elected on a joint ballot.
The Governor is the chief executive officer of the state and has general supervision over all executive branch state agencies. In addition to serving as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces, the Governor has the authority to convene special sessions of the State Legislature; veto legislation and line items on appropriations bills; recommend legislative measures; and grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons for all offenses except treason and impeachment.
The Governor of Dakota Territory had duties similar to the present chief executive. As required by the Organic Law of 1861, the Governor of Dakota Territory was appointed by the President of the United States and served a four-year term. The Governor of Dakota Territory was commander-in-chief of the militia; was superintendent of Indian affairs until 1871; was empowered to grant pardons and reprieves; appointed notaries public; and could approve or veto legislation passed by the Territorial Legislature.
Thirty men have served as Governor of North Dakota from statehood in 1889 to 1985. Twenty-three were Republicans, six were Democrats, and one, Eli C.D. Shortridge (1893-1894), a Populist. Two North Dakota Governors have been removed from office: Lynn Frazier was recalled along with the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor in 1921, and William Langer was removed from office in 1934 following a federal felony conviction. Two Governors, Frank A. Briggs (1898) and Arthur Sorlie (1928), died in office.
The Governor of Dakota Territory and the state of North Dakota have had the authority to appoint many officials to numerous territorial and state agencies, boards, and commissions.
Similarly, the Governor has been a member of numerous state boards and commissions.
The Governor serves as chief executive of the state and commander-in-chief of its military forces, except when they are called into service of the United States; calls the Legislative Assembly into special session; delivers the state of the state address and the budget message at the beginning of each legislative session; exercises veto power over acts of the Legislative Assembly; appoints certain state executive officers and members of boards and commissions including those regulating occupations and professions; holds authority in conjunction with the Board of Pardons on matters of extradition, pardons, reprieves, and commutations of sentence, except in cases of impeachment or treason.
30153 Incoming Letters, 1889-1920; 1918-1920.
30154 Outgoing Letters, 1889-1907.
30155 Subject Files, 1889-1905.
30156 Office Register, 1950.
30157 Insurance Index, 1903-1924; 1937-1939.
30158 Northern Pacific Railroad Company Right of Way File, 1913.
30159 Desk Diaries, 1955-1956.
30160 Correspondence Concerning Social Security Benefits, 1950-1972.
30161 Proclamations, 1902-1978.
30162 Appointment Files, 1889-1905.
30163 Proclamations Received from Other States and Territories, 1890-1904,1917-1918.
30164 Official Signatures of Officers of Various States and Territories, 1891-1903.
30165 Farm Loan and State Deposit Verification Correspondence, 1913.
30166 Permanent Fund Investments Schedules, 1913.
30167 Removal of Public Officials Files, 1939-1974.
30168 Reports of State Agencies and Institutions, 1892-1924.
30169 State Agency Budget Proposals, 1941-1943.
30170 State Budget Board Reports, 1955-1965.
30171 State Constitution Analysis, ca.1889.
30172 Sheriff’s Jail Reports, 1896-1904.
30173 Scrapbooks, 1961-1967.
30174 Poll Book from Contested Elections, 1886, 1888, 1898, 1904.
30175 Insurance Policies, 1890-1896.
30187 Minutes of State Agencies, Boards and Commissions, 1933-1980
30695 Reports Register, 1903-1917.
30770 Executive Record, 1884-1913.
30771 Appointment Registers, 1893-1944.
30772 Record Index, 1889-1906.
30775 Ledger, 1931-1965.
30775 Removal of Public Officials Docket, 1930-1933.
North Dakota Governor’s Papers, 1889-1897. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
10106 Frank White Papers, 1892-1946.
20914 Frank A. Briggs Papers, 1898.
10175 John Burke Papers, 1911-1921.
John Burke Papers, 1906-1942. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
10864 John E. Davis, Papers, 1911-1973.
Louis Hanna Papers, 1907-1908. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
Lynn Frazier Papers, 1919-1920. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
Arthur Sorlie Papers, 1924-1928. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
20115 George Shafer Letter, 1932.
George Shafer Papers, 1928-1948. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
William Langer Papers. 1900-1959. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
20089 William Langer, Papers, 1896-1953.
Ole Olson Paper, 1934-1935. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
Thomas Moodie Papers, 1934-1935. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
Walter Welford Papers, 1935-1936. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
11065 Walter Welford, Papers, 1901-1937.
10421 John Moses Papers, 1900-1944.
20293 John Moses Papers, 1936.
30176 John Moses Records, 1939-1942.
30177 Fred Aandahl Papers, 1944-1952.
Fred Aandahl Papers, 1935-1961. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
30178 C. Norman Brunsdale and John E. Davis Records, 1945-1960.
11035 Clarence Norman Brunsdale Papers, 1889-1976
John E. Davis Papers, 1937-1960. (University of North Dakota microfilm)
10489 William L. Guy Papers, 1920s-2004.
31233 William L. Guy Records, 1961-1972.
30179 William L. Guy Audio-Visual Materials, 1961-1972.
10787 Arthur A. Link Papers, 1970-1972.
30181 Arthur A. Link, Records, 1973-1980.
30180 Allen I. Olson Records, 1981-1984.
31602 George A. Sinner Records, 1975-1993.
31888 Edward T. Schafer Records, 1993-2000.
Banking and Financial Institutions
30182 State Examiner’s Reports, 1891-1938.
Board of Pardons
30776 Minutes, 1901-1951.
30777 Record of Commutations, Pardons, Rewards, and Restoration of Citizenship, 1895-1914.
30183 Outgoing Letters, 1905-1915.
30184 Criminal Case Files, 1889-1908.
30185 Extradition Files, 1889-1904.
30186 Transcripts of Testimony, 1941-1942.
George Washington Bicentennial Commission
30685 North Dakota State George Washington Bicentennial Committee Records, 1929-1932.
Governmental Survey Commission
30694 Minutes, 1941-1944.
30188 Special Investigations, 1893-1939.
30189 Kidder County vs. Northern Pacific Railroad Company Tax Case Records, 1898-1900.
30190 Court Documents, 1888-1949.
30193 Correspondence, 1889-1897.
30194 General and Special Orders, 1891-1895.
Public Service Inquiry Commission
30195 Records of Public Service Inquiry Commission, 1907.
30187 Minutes of State Agencies, 1933-1980.
Theodore Roosevelt Centennial Commission
30197 Records, 1957-1958.
31185 Scrapbook, 1958-1958.
Gray, David P. Guide to North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
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phone: (701) 328-2666
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