The Mad Men archive—which includes the notes, drafts, costumes, and research that went into designing the titular show’s transportingly detailed recreation of 1960s America—has been donated to the University of Texas’ Ransom Center humanities library, the AP reports.
According to showrunner Matthew Weiner, the motivation behind this donation, made by Weiner and Lionsgate, came from his unwillingness to let years of painstaking archival work get auctioned away or otherwise vanish forever. “There is a record here of mid-century America that digs so deep,” Weiner said. “It would have been sad to let that go.”
While on his way to a film festival in Austin, Weiner stumbled upon what he felt to be the perfect new home for the Mad Men memorabilia collection: The Ransom Center, which was featuring a Gone With the Wind exhibit at the time. Seeing this showcase inspired Weiner to donate the Mad Men archive for research and preservation.
Even the briefest glance at the archive’s inventory is enough to reveal just how valuable the donated materials are. From the typography of Don Draper’s re-employment letter, which was set to a font size consistent with the ‘60s norm, to the décor of the characters’ houses and offices, which were created through consulting lifestyle catalogs from back in the day, the Mad Men archive is both a rich repository of historical documentation and a testament to the immense amount of work that so often goes into creating enduring art, a category to which Mad Men most certainly belongs.