Ogden R. Dalrymple



By the time he arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA, in the fall of 1946, Ogden Rafferty Dalrymple could already draw upon a wealth of life experiences as he began to assume, one by one, his emerging roles as artist, teacher, friend, husband, and father.  Born in New York City on March 5, 1908, he had exhibited a natural penchant for swimming from an early age, which eventually brought him to the University of Michigan in 1931.  By graduation time four years later, he had not only helped his teammates clinch the national swimming championship, but had just narrowly missed winning a berth on the 1932 U.S. Olympic Swim Team.  It was a passion he would retain and impart to his family for the rest of his life.  Meanwhile, however, he had also begun to recognize his own abiding interest and promising ability in the visual arts.  The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree he went on to earn at Yale developed the skills he would need in setting out as a free-lance artist in New York and Mexico City.  With the nation’s entry into World War II, Dalrymple enlisted in the Army, where, as a camouflage designer and instructor both Stateside and in the European theater, he rose to the rank of Platoon Staff Sergeant by the time of his honorable discharge in August 1945.  Thanks to the G.I. Bill, he spent the following year back in Michigan studying with Jon Johnson and Carl Milles at the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art until his new friend Palmer Eide successfully convinced him to join Augustana College’s fledgling Art Department.  Although the following years featured further graduate study at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Claremont College, UCLA, and the University of Minnesota, Augustana would remain Dalrymple’s professional base for the balance of his career.

As Assistant and Associate Professor of Art (1946-1973) and Artist in Residence (1973-1991), Ogden Dalrymple had a profound influence on several generations of Augustana students.  He was also well known in the wider arts community of Sioux Falls through his vocations as teacher, patron, and commissioned artist.  Although his range of talents included drawing, painting, design, and portraiture, Dalrymple’s most enduring work manifested itself in carving, medallic art, and sculpture.  The official Mace he carved is still used in all College processions to this day, and his inscriptions may likewise be found on buildings across the campus, as well as in several area churches.  First Congregational Church of Sioux Falls is the home of his only known mosaic, positioned above the six wooden panels he carved for the church’s main portal.  One of these panels later served as the inspiration for “The Sower,” a fresco he and Eide originally installed in Canton, South Dakota, but which was later relocated to Augustana’s Chapel of Reconciliation. 

Dalrymple’s medallions earned widespread recognition both at home and abroad, with exhibitions in New York (1957), Paris (1968), and Florence (1983) of the Spitznagel Medal for Achievement in Art, the Augustana Centennial Award (displaying the official Seal he had designed for the College in 1949), the Augustana Alumni Association Medallion, and the Western America Award for Achievement—all prominently featured in the 1971 issue of National Sculpture Review.  He gained further national attention in 1974, not only for his commemorative medal honoring composer Charles Edward Ives, but also for the United States Treasury Department’s selection of his design as a semifinalist in the American Bicentennial Coinage competition. 

Most notable, however, are Dalrymple’s many stone creations that continue to adorn public and private institutions throughout the upper Midwest.  The Anderson Building in Pierre features “Dakota Industry” (1951) at its grand entrance, directly across the street from the State Capitol.  His rendering of “Moses” (1954) has beckoned generations of Augustana students into Mikkelsen Library, just as the “Muse of Music” (1982, assisted by Palmer Eide) now welcomes visitors to the Center for Visual and Performing Arts.  Several other works stemming from the close collaboration that sprang up between Dalrymple and Eide after their formal retirements likewise grace the campus, including “Creatures of Creation” (Mikkelsen Library, 1976), “The Northlander Bears” (Commons Circle, 1978), and “Hindsight-Insight-Foresight” (Commons Courtyard, 1986).  Their distinctive “Angels of Bethesda” (1982) were commissioned by Bethesda Lutheran Home in Watertown, Wisconsin, where they still soar high above the altar.

With over sixty finished works to his credit, and bestowed with the South Dakota Governor’s Award for the Arts (1978) and Augustana’s 125th Anniversary Award (1986), Ogden Dalrymple died on March 23, 1991, preceded by his wife, Janet (Snyder, June 11, 1926-May 3, 1986).  Their four daughters, Madeline, Georgina, Kathryn, and Maggie, all graduated from Augustana and proudly continue to support artistic endeavors there in loving memory of their parents, who gave so much of themselves to their family, the college, and the community.



Professor of Art (1946-1973)

Artist in Residence (1973-1991)

Augustana College

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA