Museum slated for black history collection

Dec. 14, 2006 at 11:15 PM

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles librarian has left behind books, films and documents that are being called one of the finest collections of African-American memorabilia.

Mayme Agnew Clayton's son, Avery, is close to forming a public museum and research institute in LA that will house his late mother's treasures, The New York Times reported.

Mrs. Clayton's collection had been housed for years, stacked from floor to ceiling, in a rundown garage behind her home.

Among the priceless black history treasures are first editions by Langston Hughes "and every other writer from the Harlem Renaissance." The Times said there were roughly 30,000 rare and out-of-print books plus photographs, films and handwritten slavery-era documents.

"There is no doubt that this is one of the most important collections in the United States for African-American materials," said Sara Hodson, curator of literary manuscripts for the Huntington Library in San Marino -- one of the country's largest collections of rare books and manuscripts. "It is a tremendous resource for all Americans, but especially African-Americans, whose history has largely been neglected."

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