Welcome to the website of The Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (MCLM). MCLM is one of the largest and most academically substantial independently-held collections of objects, documents and memorabilia about African American history and culture. Please enjoy exploring our website and join us in the effort to save and share a vitally important American treasure.
Our Collections: MCLM's collection, now totals more than 2,000,000 objects, documents, photographs, works of art and memoribilia. It is a remarkable American cultural treasure. Mayme Agnew Clayton, Ph.D., the organization’s founder, began collecting books and documents about African American history and culture in the early 1960’s and continued until her death in 2006. Today, MCLM continues to receive additions to its collections from generous donors. Collection highlights iunclude:
- Over 30,000 rare and out-of-print books written by or about African Americans
- Over 1,000 signed first-edition books including works by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Alex Haley, Oscar Micheaux, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Ethel Waters, and Dorothy Height
- One of the world’s leading collections of Harlem Renaissance materials
- Over 500 pieces of early African American children’s literature
- Scores of original, hand-written pre-Civil War documents from slavery, including travel passes, plantation inventories, bills of sale and slave sale announcements
- Over 300 pieces of personal correspondence by noted 20th century black leaders, such as Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Josephine Baker, Pearl Bailey, and many others
- Over 10,000 items related to the Civil Rights Movement
- Hundreds of pamphlets, brochures, and serial publications ranging from the early Niagara Movement (NAACP) to the Black Panther party
- Collection items also include artifacts related to the black church in America; blacks in science, sports, business, education, the military, and the arts; African American fraternities, sororities and charitable organizations; blacks in the early American West
- More than 1,500 black film titles from as early as 1916, making it the largest black film collection pre-1959.
- Over 300 vintage movie posters dating back to 1921 and over 250 vintage lobby cards
- Signed musical scores by Fats Waller, W.C. Handy, Andy Razaf, Eubie Blake, Duke Ellington, and many other American music notables
- Over 17,000 photographs dating back to the mid-1800s
- Also within the collaction are the Marcus Garvey papers, Lena Horne’s personal scrapbook and a comprehensive collection of photography featuring Tom Bradley