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Thomas M. Messer papers, 1949-2010

Biographical Note

Thomas Messer (1920-2013) was a museum director and independent curator in New York, New York. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Messer became a United States citizen in 1944 and served in the United States Army in World War II. He earned his bachelor's degree from Boston University and studied at the Sorbonne in France before returning to the United States to study art history and museology at Harvard University. After obtaining his graduate degree, Messer was the director of the Roswell Museum in Roswell, New Mexico and then of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. In 1961, Messer became the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which includes the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. Messer retired from his position there in 1988 and became a freelance curator, teacher, writer, and arts consultant.