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Manuscripts by Subject - Politics / Government - #11065

Title: Walter Welford Papers

Dates: 1901-1939

Collection Number: MSS 11065

Quantity: 2.25 feet

Abstract: Consists of Welford's oath of office, wedding announcement, marriage certificate, passport, a medal, ribbon, newspaper clippings, post cards, and photographs. Welford served as the Twentieth Governor of North Dakota, 1935-1937, after Thomas Moodie was disqualified. Welford was a member of the North Dakota State House of Representatives, 1906 & 1908, served in the North Dakota State Senate, 1916 & 1918, and was Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota in 1934.

Provenance: The collection was donated by John and Mary Bordeniuk in July 2010. This finding aid was created by Emily E. Schultz in July 2010.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to
this collection.


Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Transfer: A ribbon from the Modern Woodmen of America, Camp number 3337,
Welford, ND, and a medal from the Golden Jubilee Celebration in Minot,
July 1-3, 1935, were offered to the Museums Division in July 2010.


Walter E. Welford was born May 21, 1868, in Bellery, Yorkshire, England, to Thomas and Jane (Murry) Welford. Walter immigrated with his parents to Emerson, Manitoba in November 1879, and settled in Dakota Territory in early 1880. He lived in the Pembina-Neche area until his death, and operated a 1,500 acre farm. On June 26, 1901, he married Edith Bachman in Genoa, OH.

His first political office was clerk of Home Township in Pembina County, a position he held for 20 years. Welford served in the ND House of Representatives for the 1st District in 1906 and in 1908. He was elected state Senator from the 1st District in 1916 and 1918. In 1919, he was named chairman of the senate committee on insurance, the committee that developed the workmen's compensation law, hail insurance law and state bonding and fire insurance laws. He was elected a member of the Republican state executive committee in 1920. Welford was involved in Nonpartisan League (NPL) activities during the 1920s-1930s. In 1924 he entered the national political field, running for Congress on the Democratic ticket.

In 1934 he was Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota. After Thomas H. Moodie was removed from office for lack of residence qualifications, Welford became the Twentieth Governor of the state of ND. He won renomination in the Republican primary but was defeated by ex-Governor William Langer who ran as an independent. He was inaugurated February 2, 1935, and served until 1937. In 1937, Mrs. Welford died; the couple had one daughter, Florence Margaret, who died in infancy. Walter Welford was a member of the Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons, and the Woodmen. He died on the way from his farm home to the hospital in Altona, Manitoba, Canada, June 28, 1952. He was survived by two brothers, Arthur and Fred Welford, who continued to operate the Welford Brothers farm, and three sisters, Miss Ethel Welford, Mrs. Lillian Corbett, and Mrs. M. H. Weeks.


"Former Governor Walter Welford Died Sat., June 28," Pembina New Era, 4 July 1952, p. 1.
"North Dakota Governors Online Exhibit: Walter Welford." State Historical Society of North
Dakota. Online at (Accessed 14 July 2010).
"The North Dakota State Historical Society Collection of Portraits of Prominent Citizens of the
State: Walter Welford." Compiled by the Holmboe Studio, Bismarck, ND, 1917. ND Governors Reference File. State Archives, State Historical Society of ND.
"Welford, 30s ND Governor, Dies at 83," Minot Daily News, 30 June 1952, p. 1.


Box Folder Description/date

Box 1:
1 Oath of office, wedding announcement, ND state seal card, and newspaper clippings, 1901-1935
2 Passport, issued 1937, renewed 1939
3 Photographs, 1930s
11065-01 Governor Walter Welford portrait, ca. 1939
11065-02 Governor Walter Welford portrait, 1936
11065-03 Governor Walter Welford portrait, 1937
11065-04 Unidentified baby in stroller, ca. 1930s
11065-05 Welford Home in Pembina, ND, ca 1935-1936
11065-06 Governor Walter Welford at unidentified event with unidentified men, some in military uniforms, ca. 1935-1936
11065-07 Governor Walter and Edith Welford in Governor's Mansion, north end of reception room, Bismarck, ND, June 6, 1935
11065-08 Governor Walter Welford with microphone, being recorded or interviewed at an unidentified event, ca. 1935-1936
11065-09 Governor Welford with P.G. Harrington, Department Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars of US, North Dakota, in Governor's Mansion, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1935-1936 (Rembrandt Studio, Bismarck, ND)
11065-10 Walter Welford and bust sculpted by a Boy Scout, 1936 (Russell Reid photograph, Bismarck, ND)
11065-11 "Welford for Governor" portrait, ca. 1936-1937 (Leo D. Harris photograph, Killdeer, ND)
11065-12 Governor Welford with Franklin Delano Roosevelt on back of Northern Pacific train on Roosevelt's campaign trail, Bismarck, ND, August 27, 1936 (Risem photograph, Bismarck, ND)
11065-13 Governor Welford at unidentified tree planting ceremony, probably Williston, ND, ca 1935-1936 (Klebe photograph, Williston, ND)
11065-14 Unidentified man portrait (in band or military uniform?), ca. 1935 (Risem photograph, Rembrandt Studio, Bismarck, ND)
11065-15 Governor's chauffeurs in front of capitol, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1935-1936 (Risem photograph, Bismarck, ND)
11065-16 Governor Welford at unidentified event, ca. 1935-1936 11065-17 Republican Band Wagon men outside bus at entrance to Roosevelt Park, ca. 1935-1937 (Osborn Studio, Dickinson, ND)

(SEE oversize for 11065-18 & 11065-19)

4 Post cards, ca. 1900s-1920s
11065-20 Hotel the Northwest, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1917
11065-21 State Capitol, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1908
11065-22 Sakakawea statue, Bismarck, ND, n.d.
11065-23 State Capitol and Liberty Memorial Building, Bismarck, ND, 1926 Finney's photograph)
11065-24 Hotel McKenzie, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1916
11065-25 ND State Penitentiary, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1900-1920
11065-26 Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge over the Missouri River, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1918
11065-27 Northern Pacific Passenger Depot, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1910-1917


Marriage certificate, June 26, 1901
Liberty Bond sales certificate, ca. 1918
Photographs, ca. 1906-1910 & 1935
11065-18 Hardware dealers' convention banquet, Bismarck, ND, February 6, 1935 (Butler Studio photograph, Bismarck, ND)
11065-19 North Dakota House of Representatives in House Chamber of old Capitol, Bismarck, ND, ca. 1906-1910 (Arthur E. Boyce)

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