Jacob L. Skrivseth was born December 26, 1853 in Nördmore, Norway. He came with his parents to America in 1869. They first settled in Freeborn County, Minnesota.
Jacob Skrivseth was educated in Norway and Minnesota. He learned the photography trade in Albert Lea, Minnesota. From there he moved to Fairbault, Minnesota, then to Fargo around 1878 or 1879.
Although F. Jay Haynes was the first photographer to operate in the Fargo-Moorhead area, Skrivseth was the first to open a studio in the Fargo city limits on March 6, 1879. The exact location of his studio is unknown, it was located somewhere on Broadway. In the fall of 1879, Skrivseth became a partner of O. E. Flaten in Moorhead, Minnesota. The two men apparently built a traveling wagon with a built-in dark room. Flaten stayed in Moorhead and Skrivseth traveled throughout the Red River Valley shooting town and farm scenes.
Flaten and Skrivseth also were the official photographers for the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba Railroad (Later to become the Great Northern), according to an article in the February 1881 Moorhead Weekly Argonaut. Mr. Skrivseth was married to Bertha Christenson on June 10, 1880 in Fargo, and they had three children, Henning, Margaret, and Jay.
In 1881 he dissolved his partnership with Flaten and moved to Buxton, North Dakota. He then moved to Hillsboro, North Dakota in 1882 where he opened a studio. While in Hillsboro he rose to prominence and served as the community’s mayor.
By 1898 he opened a studio in Mayville, North Dakota and then one in Crookston, Minnesota. By 1905 he had moved to Minot, North Dakota and erected the Skrivseth Block. He went to Seattle during the year of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and worked there as a photographer.
After the Exposition he returned to Minot and continued his business. In 1925 he moved to Williston with his wife and son Jay. He died February 23, 1934 in Williston, North Dakota.