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S. Th. Westdal receiving a certificate, Williston, N.D.
S. Th. Westdal receiving a certificate, Williston, N.D.
TitleS. Th. Westdal receiving a certificate, Williston, N.D.
Date of Original1942-11-02
CreatorShemorry, Bill, 1914-2004
Creator RolePhotographer
DescriptionView of S. Th. Westdal shaking hands and receiving a ring and certificate from another man standing next to a table where three other men sit. There are signs, awards and a bell for the Rotary. The certificate says "This certificate is presented to S. Th. Westdal by the Williston Rotary Club Given at Williston, North Dakota, this 2nd day of November, 1942" and has many signatures on it as well.
General SubjectPeople
Subject (LCTGM)Men
Shaking hands
Suits (Clothing)
Signs (Notices)
Personal NameWestdal, Stephen Thorstein, 1873-
Organization NameRotary Club (Williston, N.D.)
Rotary International. District 15
LocationWilliston (N.D.)
Item Number1-45-1-13
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Dimensions of Original11 x 19 cm.
Transcription"4 __, 9 1/2, 135%, #5" -- Handwritten on back of photograph.
"Individual instruction slip (past on back of copy) Date Wanted Thursday Nov. 26, 1942, By The Williams County Farmers Press, Williston, N. Dak. Zinc x, Size High nec, wide 37 ems, screen 85" -- Handwritten and printed on slip attached to back of photographic print.
NotesTitle created by staff.
Biography/HistoryWilliam E. "Bill" Shemorry was a native of Williston, N.D. who began work in the newspaper industry as a newsboy selling the Williston Herald and the Williams County Farmers Press. In 1953, he started to publish the Williston Plains Reporter, which he operated for 25 years before selling to the Williston Herald. Shemorry then began to concentrate on his own writing and photography. In addition to writing many books on the history of Williams County, he also collected photographs of early North Dakota photographers. Shemorry was an active member of the Williston Fire Department, was Civil Defense Chief of Williams County for three years in the 1950's, and was a combat photographer in World War II. Shemorry's photograph of the discovery of oil in North Dakota on April 4, 1951 at the Clarence Iverson No. 1 is one of the most famous oil photographs ever taken, and was published in many national publications.

Stephen Thorstein Westdal was born in Iceland on June 21, 1873. In 1880 his father, John G. Westdal moved the family to the United States and settled in Minnesota. On April 15, 1900, Stephen Th. Westdal married Miss Pauline J. Sigurdson of Wisconsin. Mr. Westdal went to school in MN and Washington D.C. and in 1907 he took a homestead in McKenzie County, North Dakota, which he made his home until 1911 when he settled in Charlson, McKenzie County and he became the publisher of the McKenzie County Journal, a newspaper with which he identified with until November, 1919. He then took up residence in Williston, where he entered the employ of George Farries, the publisher of the Williston Herald and on March 15, 1924, he participated in forming a corporation known as the Williston Herald Corporation which bought the newspaper. Mr. Westdal acted as editor and publisher of this publication until at least 1931… Later images, from the 1940s, in the Bill Shemorry Photograph Collection show "S. Th." Or "Steve" Westdal working at the Farmers Press newspaper. S. Th. Westdahl was a member of the Williston North Dakota Rotary, and was included in The Rotarian, Sept 1943 issue as a Rotarian who had not missed a Club meeting for 15 years or more.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionWilliam E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection Mss 10958
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-45-1-13)
Rights ManagementPermission to reproduce this image must be requested from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Ordering InformationTo order a reproduction, inquire about the collection, or provide information about an image, please email Emily E. Schultz at
Digital IDws145113
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