The Messenger Art Collection began its journey in 1913, when Frank Messenger formed the Messenger Publishing Co. with a vision of suppling the world with religious-themed calendars. Record company growth in the 1930’s allowed Messenger to acquire the Auburn Greeting Card Co., merging it with the calendar operations to become Messenger Corporation, with headquarters in downtown Auburn, Indiana.
Over the 100 or so years of Messenger’s and its progeny entities’ operations, thousands of works of art were amassed in the collection, representing an eclectic mix of genres spanning many centuries including not just religious works but also Americana, pin-ups, wildlife, 18th century engravings, rare historic posters and many others. Perhaps the most notable of these works are the original films used to create the “Golden Dreams” calendars featuring Marilyn Monroe that were produced throughout the 1950’s. These calendars were largely responsible for establishing Marilyn Monroe’s status as a Hollywood icon and helped Hugh Hefner launch a men’s magazine in 1953 that became known as the Playboy Empire.
In June 2010 the collection, which at this point comprised over 5,000 pieces, was purchased by a private collector and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. For the first time in its history, the collection is now available for private viewing and acquisitions.