January 22, 2022

Seth MacFarlane’s Generosity Allows Library of Congress to Acquire Personal Papers of Carl Sagan

From LC:

The Library of Congress has acquired the personal papers of American astronomer, astrobiologist and science communicator Carl Sagan (1934-1996). A celebrated scientist, educator, television personality and prolific author, Sagan was a consummate communicator who bridged the gap between academe and popular culture.

The Sagan collection has come to the Library through the generosity of writer, producer and director Seth MacFarlane, and is officially designated The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive.

The collection comprises approximately 800 boxes of materials that document Sagan’s life and work and includes his extensive correspondence with scientific colleagues and other important figures of the 20th century. It also includes book drafts, publications files, “idea files” on various subjects, records of various symposia, NASA files and academic files covering the years he taught at Cornell University. Among the personal files are his birth announcement, handwritten notebooks of his earliest thoughts and grammar-school report cards. In addition to manuscript materials, the collection includes photographs, audiotapes and videocassettes. Researchers and scholars will be able to use the collection once it has been fully processed by the Library’s archivists.


“The work of Carl Sagan has been a profound influence in my life, and the life of every individual who recognizes the importance of humanity’s ongoing commitment to the exploration of our universe,” said MacFarlane. “The continuance of our journey outward into space should always occupy some part of our collective attention, regardless of whatever Snooki did last week.”

MacFarlane is the creative force behind the television shows “Family Guy,” “American Dad!” and “The Cleveland Show.” “Family Guy” has garnered four Emmys and seven Emmy nominations, including one in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. MacFarlane makes his directorial feature film debut on June 29, 2012, with the live-action and computer-generated comedy, “Ted.” His orchestral/big band album, “Music Is Better Than Words,” debuted at number one on the iTunes Jazz charts on Sept 27, 2011, and received two Grammy nominations, including Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

MacFarlane has teamed up with Sagan’s original creative collaborators—writer/producer Ann Druyan and astrophysicist Steven Soter—to conceive a 13-part “docu-series” that will serve as a successor to the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series, “Cosmos.” Produced in conjunction with FOX and the National Geographic Channel, “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey” will explore how human beings began to comprehend the laws of nature and find their place in space and time. By exploring 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.


To examine Sagan’s legacy as a role model for future American scientists, the Library of Congress will sponsor a “Summit on Science Education” late next year. The event, which will bring together scientists, educators, policy-makers and students, will underscore Sagan’s conviction that it is critical to understand and appreciate the centrality of science in the everyday lives of Americans and to create a renewed national consciousness about preparing the next generation of scientists.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.