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'Mad Men' Archive Donated to UT's Ransom Center

Pete Smith
Courtesy Harry Ransom Center
"Inspiration board" for the lead "Mad Men" character of Don Draper.

The archives from the hit cable series "Mad Men" is headed to UT-Austin's Harry Ransom Center.

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner and Lionsgate, which produced the AMC series, are donating the show's archives to UT-Austin's Ransom Center.

The collection includes script drafts, props, costumes and video used in the production of the show. The donation was made by the series' creator and executive producer, Matthew Weiner, and the show's production company, Lionsgate.  

The show, which followed the lives of men and women in New York's advertising industry in the 1960s, ran from 2007 to 2015 on the AMC cable channel.

“'Mad Men' is a groundbreaking program, noteworthy for the high quality of its writing, acting and design, as well as for the insightful depiction of American culture through the lens of the past,” Steve Wilson, the Ransom Center’s curator of film, said in an email statement. “Through the Mad Men holdings, students and scholars will gain new insights into the creative decisions that shaped the series and a greater understanding of the evolution of motion pictures.”

Weiner told the Ransom Centerhe decided to house the archives there after seeing its Gone With the Wind exhibit.  

We were at dinner that night with screenwriting team Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter and found out that Michael had overseen the donation of Robert De Niro’s archives. He gave me [Ransom Center Curator of Film] Steve Wilson’s contact, we went to the museum again, I found out that Gabriel García Márquez, Norman Mailer, and James Joyce had all been recently added, and from then on it was my hope to be part of such an amazing place.

The Ransom Center plans to conserve and catalog the items and then make them available for exhibits, researchers and teachers. Some materials from the collection are on view in the Ransom Center lobby through Feb. 1.

“It’s our hope that the 'Mad Men' archive can satisfy academic curiosity and also provide creative inspiration,” Weiner said. “Both artists and scholars can retrace our steps and see how we became interested in the parts of the story we were interested in, and how the creation of the physical world, as well as the characters and storylines in the show, were the work of many talented people.” 

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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