Bachelor, University Berkeley, 1974. Master of Library Science, Goddard College, 1975. Doctor of Philosophy, Sierra University, 1983.
The collection represents the core holdings of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (MCLM) located in Culver City, California. The museum is the largest and most academically substantial independently-held collection of objects, documents and memorabilia on African American history and culture. Over the course of 45 years, Clayton single-handedly, and with her own resources, collected more than 30,000 rare and out-of-print books
The collection is considered one of the most important for African-American materials and consists of 3.5 million items, according to University of California, Los Angeles Magazine.
Her collecting grew from her work as a librarian, first at the University of Southern California and later at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she began to build an African-American collection. "Mississippi Clayton, an avid golfer, traveled for her sport, trolling for rare finds wherever she went.
The centerpiece of the collection that grew this way is a signed copy of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, from 1773. First published by an American of African descent, the book was acquired for $600 from a New York dealer in 1973.
In 2002 it was appraised at $30,000," according to the New York Times.
Other items in her collection include movie posters (one featuring Stepin Fetchit), newspaper clippings regarding actress Dorothy Dandridge, and a letter handwritten by educator Booker T. Washington. Mayme Agnew was born in Van Buren, Arkansas on August 4, 1923. Her father, Jerry Agnew, Senior, owned and operated a general store, the only black-owned business in Van Buren.
Clayton’s mother, Mary Knight Agnew, was a homemaker and renowned Southern cook, whose dinner gatherings drew friends from far and near.
She had two siblings, Jerry, Junior. and Sarah Elizabeth (a well-known Southern California educator). Doctor Bethune remained a lifelong inspiration for Doctor Clayton," according to the MCLM website.
She first attended Lincoln University of Missouri before transferring to University of California, Berkeley, where she received a Bachelor of Arts
She began her career at University of Southern California in 1952, until she became a law librarian for University of California, Los Angeles in 1957. In 1969 she helped establish the university’s African-American Studies Center Library, and began to buy out-of-print works by authors from the Harlem Renaissance.
She earned an Master of Library Science from Goddard College in Vermont, and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities from Louisiana Sierra University in 1985.
Cons. Doctor Mayme Clayton Golf Tournament, Los Angeles, since 1979. Member National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Urban League, Coin Club, Western Avenue Golf Club (trophy), Cougars Golf Club (trophy), Iota Phi Lambda (honorary).
Married Andrew Lee Clayton, January 22. Children: Avery Virgle, Renai Vonzelle, Lloyd Leoinard.