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about the collection
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Frank Messenger, in 1931, began collecting biblical art to print and distribute in the form of

religious calendars and specialty advertising to clients in the Midwest.

As his interest grew he expanded his collection to include the work of well-known illustrators and artists of the 1940s and 50s. The collection grew exponentially over time; spanning

four Centuries of American and European art.

When the Norwood Promotional Products Corporation acquired the collection in 1992 in an

effort to add to their product line, it was discovered that much of the collection had

deteriorated due to improper care and storage.

Languishing in an obscure vault in Auburn, Indiana since the 1970s,

the "forgotten" art was the victim of serious neglect.

In 2003, interest was sparked when corporate leaders sought to display some of the old

company’s "pictures"- discovering a treasure trove of thousands of paintings, etchings,

watercolors, photographs, and engravings in numerous genres. A decision was made to

bring in a master conservator who assessed the situation. Hundreds of works were

determined to be worthy of restoration — so the lengthy project was begun.

In June of 2010 the massive collection was purchased by businessman and entrepreneur, Albert Babbitt, who took on the daunting responsibility of this costly restoration project and

re-located the collection to an appropriate climate-controlled showroom in Santa Fe, NM.

Serious work by Babbitt’s team of professionals has brought the collection into the "light;"

preserving its social, cultural and historical significance for generations to come.

Mr. Babbitt is has made these artworks available for acquisition by public and

private museums and collectors. His goal is to make sure the public has access to this

artwork which tells the unique story of the American 20th Century.


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