Osmund Gunvaldsen was born on September 29, 1893, in Kristiansand, Norway. He was educated in Norway until he immigrated, alone, to the United States in 1910. He worked on farms around Battleview, North Dakota, from 1910-1915. Beginning in 1916, he operated his own farm near Battleview. He took night courses at the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University) in Fargo from 1915-1916, and at Aaker’s Business College, Fargo, in 1917 and 1918.
Gunvaldsen was inducted in the United States Army on September 4, 1918. He served in Training Company 19 at Camp Hancock, Georgia, until his discharge on January 9, 1919. He married Inga Ostby on February 12, 1919. The couple had five daughters: Agnes, Ruth, Esther, Irene, and Joyce.
With the support of the Nonpartisan League, Gunvaldsen was elected sheriff of Burke County as a Republican in 1923. He served in that capacity until 1927, when he was appointed United States Marshal for North Dakota by President Calvin Coolidge. Gunvaldsen was re-nominated by President Herbert Hoover, and served as Marshal until 1934.
Gunvaldsen was self-employed from 1934 to 1941 as publisher of Normanden, a Norwegian newspaper. Following the end of his newspaper career, he founded the Northwest Development Association, which bought and sold mineral and oil rights. An inventor, he also sought patents for some of his inventions. Gunvaldsen played a role in the founding of the Republican Organizing Committee in 1943. He was also an active member of the American Legion, the Sons of Norway, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Masons. He retired in 1976.
Osmund Gunvaldsen died on October 16, 1982, in Fargo.
The Osmund Gunvaldsen Papers date from 1910-1976 and have been divided into five series:
Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Political Materials
Series III: Oil and Mineral Interests
Series IV: Miscellaneous
Series V: Personal Materials
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Political Materials
Series 3: Oil and Material Interests
Series 4: Miscellaneous
Series 5: Personal Materials