Samuel Torgerson was born June 18, 1856, in Waupaca County, Wisconsin, son of Torger and Martha (Hermanson) Torgerson. He attended public schools in Waupaca County, and graduated from the Normal School of Oskosh in 1880. He also attended the University of Wisconsin- Madison for two years. In 1882 he moved to Moorhead, Minnesota, to teach and then became superintendent of schools for Clay County. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1890.
Torgerson left Moorhead in 1893, and moved to Mayville, North Dakota, to pursue a long career in banking. He was the assistant cashier for the First National Bank of Mayville until he moved to Grand Forks in 1904. He was a founding member of the Scandinavian-American Bank, and served as cashier for fifteen years. When the bank received a National Charter and was re-named Northwestern National Bank, Torgerson continued to serve as cashier. He left the bank in 1933, and worked for the Federal Land Bank of St. Paul, as its Secretary-Treasurer of the National Farm Loan for Grand Forks County. He retired from this position a few years before his death. He also acted as President of Security State Bank of Upham, North Dakota, and Vice-President of the Mekinock State Bank of Mekinock, North Dakota.
In politics, Torgerson was a Democrat. He was active in the Congregational Church of Grand Forks, and served on its board of trustees. He belonged to multiple organizations in the community of Grand Forks, such as the Sons of Norway, the Grand Forks Public Library Board, the Franklin Club and the Fortnightly Club. Torgerson was also very active in the Masons, and was a member of the Acacia Lodge, the Jared Consistory and the Kem Temple. Torgerson served on committees during World War I, made patriotic speeches, and contributed to all war organizations.
He was married August 3, 1887, in Ontario, Canada, to Janet E. Anderson. Together they had two children, William Robert and Marion Louise. Samuel Torgerson died September 22, 1947, at the age of 91 years, while his wife died November 9, 1951.
The acquisition records are unavailable.
The Samuel Torgerson Papers consist primarily of incoming personal correspondence of Torgerson, 1895-1939. Letters from prominent North Dakotans include J.F.T. O’Connor, Gerald P. Nye, Olger B. Burtness, John Moses, John Burke, and Asle J. Gronna. The correspondence documents Torgerson’s personal, business, religious, social and political interests. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.
A subject index to the Samuel Torgerson correspondence was created and is arranged alphabetically. The list also includes names of people with whom Torgerson corresponded frequently, or who were prominent political figures. All the correspondence with these individuals is listed under the person's name. Significant subjects covered in these letters will also appear under the relevant subject headings. Under each subject heading are entries consisting of the date, a content note, and the box and folder location of the correspondence.
Besides the correspondence, a biographical sketch of Samuel Torgerson is included. The sketch was written in 1952 by Marion Richards, the daughter of Samuel Torgerson. Two folders of Torgerson’s speeches and writings are also included.