Mayme Agnew Clayton (1923 – 2006)

Mayme Agnew Clayton (1923 – 2006) was a librarian, and the founder, president, and leader of the Western States Black Research and Education Center. The collection represents the core holdings of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum 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 UCLA 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. 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,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

 

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