Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today was joined by Emmy Award-winner Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan, the longtime collaborator and widow of astrobiologist Carl Sagan, to celebrate the official opening of The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive to the public at the Library of Congress.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996), a celebrated American astronomer, pioneering space scientist, astrobiologist, educator, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, was a consummate communicator who bridged the gap between academe and popular culture. The processed collection comprises 1,705 archival boxes of materials and came to the Library through the generosity of Emmy Award-winner MacFarlane. It includes Sagan’s earliest notebooks and report cards, extensive correspondence with scientists and other major figures of the 20th century, drafts of scientific papers, books, articles, historical documents of the first 40 years of the space age and his laboratory research at Cornell University on subjects as varied as the origin of life, global warming and nuclear winter.
"It is exciting that the Sagan-Druyan Archive is joining other great collections of scientific knowledge from various time periods that are here at the national library," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Now, the information it contains will be available for the inspiration of the next generation of scientific thinkers and will represent an ongoing memorial to the great ‘science exciter,’ Carl Sagan."
Sagan and Druyan co-wrote several books and the Cosmos television series and were co-creators of the motion picture, "Contact." Druyan was the creative director of NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Record Project, complex messages affixed to the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, to convey earth images and sounds to beings elsewhere in the galaxy. Druyan is an executive producer and writer of the new series, "COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey," a 13-part successor to the legendary original. The new program is being produced by her Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cosmos Studios in conjunction with FOX and the National Geographic Channel. Two asteroids named for Sagan and Druyan are in perpetual "wedding-ring orbit" around the sun.
MacFarlane has created some of the most popular content on television and film today while also expanding his career in the worlds of music, literature and philanthropy. He is the creator of Family Guy and American Dad!, voicing many characters on both shows. MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in 2012 with the highest-grossing original R-rated film of all time, "Ted." MacFarlane, like Druyan, is an executive producer of "COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey." The new series will explore how human beings began to comprehend the laws of nature and find their place in space and time. By exposing never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge, the series aims to take viewers to other worlds and travel across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale. It will premiere on FOX on March 9, 2014. In 2009, MacFarlane created The Seth MacFarlane Foundation to focus his charitable efforts.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website.