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Clayton McMichen papers

Identifier: 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.


  • Creation: 1944-1984


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

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.


0.2 Linear Feet (in 7 folders)

Language of Materials



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 and retiring from music in 1955.

Acquisition Information

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

Related Archival Materials

The Popular Music and Culture Collection includes numerous photographs that have been digitized and are available online in Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.

Separated Materials:

During processing various materials were separated to other Popular Music and Culture Music Collections. Please contact Special Collections for access. Information on Sound Recordings can be found in the Georgia State University Library Catalog.

Popular Music Sound Recordings Collection

  1. The Clayton McMichen Story [CMH-9028; 2 record set LP]
  2. The Skillet Lickers [Country 506; LP]
  3. The Skillet Lickers Volume 2: Old Time Fiddle Tunes and Songs From North Georgia [Country 526; LP]
  4. Old-Time Fiddle Classics [Country 507; LP]


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

Processing Information

Processed by Christopher Ann Paton and Christine de Catanzaro at the file level, October 28, 1991.

Clayton McMichen:
A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library
Georgia State University Library
October 28, 1991
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)