Knutson, Oscar R. (Oscar Rudolph), 1899-

Birth 1899

Biographical notes:

Oscar R. Knutson was born in Superior, Wisconsin, on October 9, 1899 to Bottolf and Rachel (Satren) Knutson, who were immigrants from Norway. The family moved from Superior, where they operated a dairy farm, to a farm near Warren, Minnesota, in 1916. Oscar graduated in 1919 from the Northwest School of Agriculture, Crookston, Minnesota, and from Warren High School in 1920. He attended St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota (1920-1921), followed by a year (1921-1922) at the University of Minnesota. He took a year off to work and then entered the University of Minnesota law school [ca.1923], earning his law degree in 1927.

Knutson was admitted to the Minnesota bar in 1927, and returned to Warren where he practiced law with Julius J. Olson until Olson was appointed to the 14th district court bench in 1930. After Olson's departure Knutson engaged in private practice (1930-1941). He ran for Marshall County attorney in 1930. Knutson was himself appointed to the 14th district court bench on January 2, 1941, won election to the post in 1942, and served until he was appointed an associate justice of the Minnesota supreme court on May 7, 1948. He was elected to this post in 1948, and was re-elected in 1954 and 1960. Knutson was appointed chief justice on January 25, 1962, was elected to the post in 1964, and was re-elected in 1970. He retired in 1973.

Knutson was secretary, treasurer, and manager of the Warren Telephone Company (1939-1949); chairman of the county chapter of the American Red Cross (1930-1940); and mayor of Warren (1936-1941). He was president of the State District Judges Association; a member of the Minnesota and American Bar associations, and the American Judicature Society; director of the Marshall County Agricultural Association; a member of the governing board of the Council of State Governments; and a director of both the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and the University of Minnesota Law Alumni Association.

Knutson married Louise M. Halvorson of Warren on June 20, 1934, with whom he had three children: twins Richard Henry and Robert Owen, and a daughter, Anne Joyce. Louise died January 28, 1955. Knutson was married again on July 9, 1968 to Katherine M. Anderson. Oscar Knutson died on June 15, 1981.

From the guide to the Oscar R. Knutson papers., 1920-1981 (bulk 1930-1975)., (Minnesota Historical Society)


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  • Norwegian Americans
  • Elections
  • Civil procedure--Minnesota
  • State courts--Minnesota
  • Courts--Minnesota
  • Judges
  • Commencement ceremonies
  • Eccentrics and eccentricities
  • Baccalaureate addresses
  • State courts
  • Elections--Minnesota
  • Judges--Election
  • Political Campaigns
  • Civil procedure
  • Commencement ceremonies--Minnesota
  • Political campaigns--Minnesota
  • Eccentrics and eccentricities--Minnesota
  • Courts
  • Norwegian Americans--Minnesota


  • Judges--Minnesota
  • Lawyers--Minnesota


  • Marshall County (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Warren (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Warren (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Election (as recorded)
  • Marshall County (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)