Welcome to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Company Calendars website.

     The man responsible for the fantastic history of Santa Fe's artistic use of southwest paintings for its calendars was William Haskell Simpson, who became ATSF's general advertising agent in 1900. His first goal was to enhance the company's image and promote tourism to the Southwest where Santa Fe's famed passenger trains roamed. His efforts can be described as monumental.

1950 Santa Fe Calendar Art      Simpson searched for artists from the eastern United States to paint southwestern themed art, which would then be used in Santa Fe advertising. The artists were originally paid with trips to the Grand Canyon for the use of their work, however as more artists were utilized, it was decided the best plan of action would be to purchase the paintings, and avoid future conflicts with reproduction rights.

     With a plan in hand, the first painting purchased by Simpson was in 1903. The work of art depicted the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona, as painted by Bertha Menzler Dressler. Simpsons' zeal for this enterprise resulted in the Santa Fe Railway having acquired 108 paints by 1907. Most of this growing collection illustrated Southwestern landscapes, and portraits of Native Americans as they lived in Arizona and New Mexico.

      Simpson and Santa Fe used the vastly growing art collection on all forms of advertising, however the most remembered avenue of the collection's expression was the annual Santa Fe yearly calendar. Numerous calendars were send to schools and businesses across the United States. It was originally Simpson's idea to place a painting on the calendars. This long tradition began in 1907, and lasted into the twilight of Santa Fe's independence in 1993. Collectors of Santa Fe and general railroad memorabilia, as well as Southwestern expression, offer a handsome sum for seasoned ATSF calendars.

1950 Santa Fe Calendar Art      With World War II finally over, Santa Fe utilized its vast artistic holdings by placing examples on the menus which graced the dining cars of its famous streamliners. The menus were full color and provided a description of the particular work of art, as well as information on its artist.

     Although Simpson passed away in 1933, Santa Fe continued to purchase and commission original paintings depicting Southwestern art. In 1966, the collection was put on a nationwide tour, which went from the National Archives, Washington, D.C., to the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, located in Santa Fe, NM. Today, there are more than 600 paintings in the vast ATSF collection, which is one of the largest collections of Southwestern art in existence, and has been appraised as one of the finest. The collection is now owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which utilizes the art throughout its corporate offices system wide.


  • Suzanne Burris, Curator/Archivist
        Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
        Fort Worth, TX

  • Visions & Visionaries: The Art & Artists of the Santa Fe Railway
        by Sandra D'Emilio and Suzan Campbell (1991)

  • An exhibition of Paintings of the Southwest
        from the Santa Fe Railway Collection

        Date Unknown

  • Indians and the American West
        The National Archives of the United States for the Americana Project

  • The Art of Railroading
        by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway

  • Santa Fe: The Chief Way
        by Robert Strein, John Vaughan and C. Fenton Richards, Jr.
        New Mexico Magazine

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