The Wells Fargo Messenger is a familiar sight to many. Not only do we see examples of this monthly company magazine in the history museums, but their diverse cover art is seen all over many Wells Fargo office buildings, as well as in many advertisements.
The wide variety of artwork, depicting everything from famous 18th century modes of travel to holiday themes, makes the Messenger covers an ideal way for Wells Fargo to utilize it’s rich past in contemporary marketing.
Due to its high visibility, the Wells Fargo Messenger is a popular topic of conversation for museum visitors.
They have many questions: What was the Messenger? When was it printed? Was it a monthly publication?
So I thought I would blog about it in several parts (there is a lot to research!) in an attempt to shed light about what happened between the covers of the Wells Fargo Messenger.
This “house organ” began publication in September 1912, running through June 1918. Its inception was overseen by the Company’s president, Burns D. Caldwell. In an announcement about the Messenger, he stated that:
In establishing a magazine or house organ the company is following the plan adopted by many large railroad and other public service institutions.
The extensive scope of the company, both in number of employees and wide extent of territory, should make such a medium of communication especially valuable. The primary object, of course, is to bring its representatives into a closer relation and to afford a better knowledge of its policies and of the conditions under which the varied phases of its work are to be performed, as well as to secure unity of aim and effort in serving its patrons.
The Wells Fargo Messenger will contain much that will be interesting, entertaining and instructive, but its principal function will be that of raising the company’s standard of efficiency and usefulness by the promotion of higher ideals of individual attainment and of mutual accomplishment.
Anyone who was an employee of Wells Fargo was invited and encouraged to contribute to the Messenger “almost anything that is of interest to you in your work is of interest to this magazine.” This included works of fiction, involving Wells Fargo and its employees. The first story in the premier edition of the Wells Fargo Messenger was entitled “The Man Who Fought Tigers” by Wells Fargo Advertising Manager, Edward Hungerford . A great story with suspense, romance and of course, a dutiful station agent who risks life and limb (I won’t give away the ending) .
The Messenger, however, had one very strict guideline for submissions, whether they were contributions or criticisms. That, though, is the subject for another blog….