Waldemar Lindgren was born in Vassmolösa, Kalmar Municipality, in the historical province of Småland in southern Sweden, the son of Johan and Emma Lindgren. Lindgren's father was a judge and member of parliament, his mother the daughter of a clergyman. Lindgren attended the Freiberg Mining Academy, Germany, graduating as a mining engineer in 1882.
In 1884, he began a 31-year career with the U.S. Geological Survey, working on ore deposits in the Rocky Mountains. In 1905, he helped found the journal Economic Geology. In 1912, he was appointed head of the Department of Geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lindgren was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1931. Lindgren was a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America. He has served as President of the Geological Society of America in 1924 (winning its Penrose Medal in 1933) and of the Society of Economic Geologists (winning its Penrose Gold Medal in 1928).
Lindgren's published writings run to nearly 200 titles, not counting discussions, reviews, and more than 1,000 abstracts. Most of his publications are on the great ore deposits. Editions of Mineral Deposits, his widely used textbook were published in 1913, 1919, 1928 and 1933.
- The Gold Belt of the Blue Mountains of Oregon Extract from the 22nd Annual Report (1900-1901) Part 2: Ore Deposits (U.S. Geological Survey. 1902. pages 553–776)
- The water resources of Molokai, Hawaiian Islands (US Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper No. 77. 1903. 62 pages)
- The copper deposits of the Clifton-Morenci district, Arizona (US Geological Survey Professional Paper No. 43. 1905. 375 pages)
- Geology and gold deposits of the Cripple Creek District, Colorado. (Lindgren, W., & Ransome, F. L. US Geological Survey Professional Paper No. 54. 1906. 516 pages)
- The ore deposits of New Mexico (Lindgren, W., Graton, L. C., Schrader, F. C., & Hill, J. M. US Geological Survey Professional Paper No. 68 1910. 361 pages)
- The Tertiary Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California (US Geological Survey Professional Paper No. 73. 1911. 226 pages)
- Mineral Deposits (New York, McGraw-Hill. 1913)
- "Waldemar Lindgren | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
- Fairchild, Herman LeRoy, 1932, The Geological Society of America 1888-1930, a Chapter in Earth Science History: New York, The Geological Society of America, 232 p.
- Eckel, Edwin, 1982, GSA Memoir 155, The Geological Society of America — Life History of a Learned Society: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Memoir 155, 168 p., ISBN 0-8137-1155-X.
- "Penrose Medalists". The Geological Society of America, Inc. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
- "Penrose Gold Medal". Society of Economic Geologists. Archived from the original on 28 December 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- "Lindgren's Biography'". Society of Economic Geologists Newsletter (43). October 2000.
- "Waldemar Lindgren - American geologist". britannica.com. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
- Works by or about Waldemar Lindgren at Internet Archive
- Memorial from American Mineralogist
- Brief bio, National Mining Hall of Fame
- Biographical sketch from Dictionary of American Biography
- Lindgren at Freiberg Mining Academy at the Wayback Machine (archived June 20, 2007), from SEG Newsletter, accessed 1/17/08