Albert Curtis Bakken was born near Sharon, North Dakota, on December 19, 1920. He was the second of five children born to Albert O. and Martha A. (Stroud) Bakken. He graduated from Sharon High School in 1939.
Following graduation, he attended Mayville State Teacher's College for several terms, before he entered the United States Army on November 11, 1942. He saw duty in Europe as part of a Medical Detachment to the 304th Regiment of the 76th Division. He separated from the Army on January 7, 1946, at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.
Following his discharge from the Army, he attended the School of Law at the University of North Dakota. While at UND, he was a member of Phi Alpha Delta, a national law fraternity. He graduated from UND with a Bachelor of Laws Degree on June 11, 1948. On October 11, 1969, Bakken was awarded a retroactive Juris Doctor degree from UND.
Bakken served as the Steele County State's Attorney from 1949 to 1951, counsel for the North Dakota Tax Department from 1953 to 1954, First Assistant Attorney General from 1955 to 1956, and Griggs County State's Attorney from 1959 to 1966. He was appointed North Dakota District Court Judge by Governor William Guy on August 1, 1967. Serving in the First District, he was re-elected in 1968, 1974, 1980, and 1986. He retired from the bench on October 1, 1987.
From 1946 until his appointment as District Court Judge in 1967, Bakken was active in the Democratic Nonpartisan League in North Dakota, and served as state central committeeman at one time. He was also a member of the American Judicature Society, serving as Director of the North Dakota chapter from 1979-1982. He was also a Faculty Advisor for the National Judicial College in 1977.
He married Shirley Ann Gooderum on June 5, 1947. The couple had three children: Gary, Glenn, and Gay Ann. Shirley Bakken died on September 28, 1979. In June 1984, he married the former Hope Morwood.
A.C. Bakken died January 20, 2009, in Oregon.
The A.C. Bakken Papers contain materials related to major cases heard before Judge Bakken in Northeast Central District Court in North Dakota, files on cases from other districts, and memorandum decisions written by the Judge. Also included are materials from the North Dakota Supreme Court; these documents are of two types: decisions in which Bakken participated, as well as cases appealed from Bakken's court. Trial notes, briefs, affidavits, jury instructions, orders, decisions, and correspondence are among the types of legal documents included in the collection. Several newspaper clippings are also present.
The collection is divided into six series.
Series 1: Major Cases Tried Before Judge Bakken in Northeast Central District Court
Series 2: Major Cases From Other Judicial Districts
Series 3: Memorandum Decisions
Series 4: North Dakota Supreme Court
Series 5: Correspondence
Series 6: Newspaper Clippings