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Clayton McMichen papers

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Clayton McMichen papers

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Clayton McMichen:

A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library

Georgia State University
Georgia State University Library
Special Collections and Archives
100 Decatur St., SE
Atlanta, GA 30303-3202
Fax: 404-413-2881

October 28, 1991

Profile Description

Creation: EAD version 2002 finding aid created in XMetaL 4.5 from HTML source, June 30, 2008.
Language: English

Collection Summary

Repository: Georgia State University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta
Creator: McMichen, Clayton, 1900-1970
Title:Clayton McMichen papers
Dates: 1944-1984
Quantity: .2 linear ft. (in 1 box)
Abstract:Country musician Clayton McMichen (1900-1970) performed as a fiddler on WSB Radio in Atlanta from 1922 and recorded with the Skillet Lickers from 1926. He had an active career after leaving Atlanta in 1931, later fronting the Georgia Wildcats. retiring from music in 1955.
Identification: M059

Scope and Content of the Papers

The Clayton McMichen Papers, which were collected by McMichen's daughter, Juanita Lynch, consist of copies of manuscript and photographic materials documenting the life and career of Clayton McMichen. The manuscript portion consists of correspondence, some legal documents, contracts, and copyright information, and copies of two handwritten songs by Bert Layne and Clayton McMichen. Four LP recordings featuring McMichen have been transferred to the sound recording collection, and an Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame newsletter has been filed in the ephemera collection. The sixty-three photographs include casual and professional images of McMichen alone, with family and friends, or with other country musicians. Also among the photographs are several individual and group shots of country musicians.

Biography of Clayton McMichen

Clayton McMichen, who was born on January 26, 1900 in Allatoona, Georgia, began to play the fiddle when he was 11 years old. He began to gain notoriety on his instrument at fiddlers' conventions in the 1920s and on WSB radio. Soon after WSB went on the air in Atlanta in 1922 and for the following four years, McMichen was heard as the leader of a string band called the Home Town Boys. He went on to make several popular recordings with the Skillet Lickers between 1926 and 1930; in about 1930, when the original Skillet Lickers disbanded, he formed his own band, Clayton McMichen and His Melody Men. His new band remained one of the highlights of WSB's programming until he left Atlanta in early 1931.

McMichen worked at numerous radio stations throughout the east and southeast during the 1930s and early 1940s, fronting a band called the Georgia Wildcats, making frequent recordings, and appearing at fiddling contests. From 1945 to 1955, McMichen changed the style of his band to Dixieland. He retired from music in 1955, but in the 1960s he was coaxed out of retirement to appear in bluegrass and folk festivals. He died in Battletown, Kentucky, on January 3, 1970.

Further information on Clayton McMichen can be found in Wayne Daniel, Pickin' on Peachtree (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1990).

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Georgia State University Library online catalog (GIL). Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

McMichen, Clayton, 1900-1970--Archives
Skillet Lickers
WSB (Radio station : Atlanta, Ga.)
Georgia Wildcats (Musical group)
Country music --Georgia --Atlanta --20th century
Country musicians--Georgia


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Administrative Information


[item], [folder title], Clayton McMichen Papers, M059, Popular Music Collection. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Juanita Lynch, July 29, 1986 (M1986-10).

Processing Information

Processed by Christopher Ann Paton and Christine de Catanzaro, October 28, 1991 (revised May 4, 1995, October 1998). EAD finding aid created by William Hardesty, June 2008.

Related Material

Related materials in this repository:

WSB Radio Records, M003, Popular Music Collection

Wayne W. Daniel Papers, M108, Popular Music Collection

Also see the Atlanta Country Music Research Guide page on the Popular Music Collection website.

Separated Material

Separated material: During processing, phonograph records were separated to Popular Music Sound Recordings Collection. See List of Separated Material following Detailed Description of the Collection.

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