Ruth Freitag, librarian to the stars, dies at 96

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Ruth Freitag, librarian to the stars, dies at 96

May 24 2021

An expert on astronomy, Ruth Frietag spent nearly a half-century at the Library of Congress and helped Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan with research.

Isaac Asimov was enthralled with her and wrote her a limerick. Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan wrote in their introduction to Comet (1985) that "one of the most pleasant experiences in writing this book" was meeting her. Numerous other science writers acknowledged their debts to her in forewords to their books.

Known for her encyclopedic knowledge of resources in science and technology, Ms. Freitag was sought out by the leading interpreters of the galaxy. She developed a particular expertise in astronomy early in her career.

In a way, Ms. Freitag was her own analog version of Google, providing answers to a wide array of queries from writers and researchers in astonishing depth and detail decades before computers and the internet transformed the research process.

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