Henry Montgomery was the first faculty member hired at the fledgling University of North Dakota (UND) in 1884. He taught courses in the natural sciences and English, and served as vice-president of UND. He was also curator of the museum, which included many specimens collected by Montgomery. Following the dismissal of William Blackburn in 1885 from the presidency of UND, Montgomery was appointed acting president for the next two years. He resigned from UND in 1889.
Montgomery was born in Durham County, Ontario, in 1849. He obtained bachelor and master degrees from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a Ph.D. from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1903. Montgomery was known for his contributions to archaeology and geology. His fieldwork included excavations of burial mounds in North Dakota and in Canada, and an expedition to the Black Hills in 1885. After his tenure at UND, he held positions in New York and at the University of Utah. Montgomery returned to Canada in 1894 to teach at Trinity College in Toronto. He was then appointed curator of the University of Toronto museum in 1903, retiring in 1912. Montgomery died 21 February 1919 in Painesville, Ohio, where he had been living with his son, Clarence.