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Mayme Clayton

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Information about Mayme Clayton

Profile image of Mayme Clayton

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Curator
Librarian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
If You Don’t Know Where You're Going, You’ll Never Know Where You Have Been.

Birthplace

Born:
8/4/1923
Birth Location:
Van Buren, Arkansas

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Curator
Librarian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
If You Don’t Know Where You're Going, You’ll Never Know Where You Have Been.

Birthplace

Born:
8/4/1923
Birth Location:
Van Buren
See how Mayme Clayton is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Curator and librarian Mayme A. Clayton was born to Mary Dorothy Knight Agnew and Jerry Modique Agnew in Van Buren, Arkansas on August 4, 1923 . She graduated high school at the age of sixteen, and moved to Los Angeles, California in 1946. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of California-Berkeley. She earned her master’s of library science degree from Goddard College via correspondence to their Vermont campus and a Ph.D. degree from Sierra University in Los Angeles.

Clayton began her career as a librarian in 1952, working at the Doheny Library at the University of Southern California. In 1957, she left the University of Southern California to become a law librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles,and also served as a consultant and founding member of the Afro-American Studies Center Library. After working at University of California Los Angeles for fifteen years, Clayton took a position at Universal Books in Hollywood, California. When the store closed, the partners in the store divided the remaining volumes between themselves. Clayton received all of the books that pertained to Black society and culture – more than 4,000 volumes. Clayton’s collection of African American ephemera has continued to grow; it now contains more than 20,000 pieces, including films, books, magazines, music and advertisements. Some of the items in this collection include signed first editions of works by Zora Neale Hurston, handwritten correspondence from George Washington Carver, as well as a rare signed copy of Phyllis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral . Currently, the collection resides in the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum in Culver City, California. Clayton served as the president of the center.

Clayton was the founder of the Black American Cinema Society, which awards scholarships and hosts film festivals. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Phoenix Award and the Paul Robeson Award.

Clayton passed away on October 13, 2006 at the age of 83.

See how Mayme Clayton is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mayme Clayton's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mayme Clayton lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mayme Clayton describes her mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mayme Clayton describes her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mayme Clayton recalls her father's grocery store in Van Buren, Arkansas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mayme Clayton describes her father and how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mayme Clayton recalls her father's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mayme Clayton describes her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mayme Clayton recalls her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mayme Clayton remembers the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mayme Clayton describes a midnight ramble from her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mayme Clayton describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mayme Clayton remembers her experience at Frederick Douglass School in Van Buren, Arkansas, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mayme Clayton remembers her experience at Frederick Douglass School in Van Buren, Arkansas, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mayme Clayton recalls church activities at New Hope Baptist Church in Van Buren, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mayme Clayton describes her experience at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mayme Clayton remembers meeting Jackie Robinson while attending Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri during World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mayme Clayton explains her decision to leave Lincoln University to become a photographer in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mayme Clayton talks about performers she met in New York, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mayme Clayton remembers her exposure to African American history visiting the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mayme Clayton recalls moving to California after her marriage in 1946
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mayme Clayton talks about her career as a university librarian
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mayme Clayton describes how her interest in African American history and publications developed in California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mayme Clayton talks about her group affiliations regarding black writers and literature
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mayme Clayton lists the higher education institutions she attended and degrees acquired
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mayme Clayton describes the origins of her book collection
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mayme Clayton lists notable items in her collection of African American books, film, and photographs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mayme Clayton talks about the origins of the Western States Black Research Center in Culver City, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mayme Clayton talks about plans for developing the Western States Black Research Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mayme Clayton describes her work with the Black American Cinema Society
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mayme Clayton talks about other notable collections joining with her the Western States Black Research Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mayme Clayton describes her hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mayme Clayton reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mayme Clayton talks about how she acquires films for the Western States Black Research Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mayme Clayton reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mayme Clayton describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mayme Clayton explains how a bad financial decision by the owner of Universal Books led to a windfall for her collection
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mayme Clayton reflects upon the historical importance of her collection and the Western States Black Research Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Mayme Clayton narrates her photographs