Henrik Shipstead was born in Burbank, Minnesota, on 8th January, 1881. After graduating from Northwestern University, Chicago, in 1903, Shipstead practiced dentistry in Glenwood, Minnesota. A member of the Farmer-Labor Party, was mayor of Glenwood between 1911 and 1913.
Shipstead was elected to Congress in 1922. Over the next few years he worked closely with William Borah, Gerald Nye, Bronson Cutting, Lynn Frazier, John Elmer Thomas, Tom Amlie, Robert LaFollette Jr., Burton K. Wheeler and other progressives in the Senate.
In 1940 Shipstead joined the Republican Party. He remained in the Senate until 1947. Henrik Shipstead died in Alexandria, Minnesota, on 26th June, 1960.