Clayton House on Caroline Street
The Clayton Library, Center for Genealogical Research, was founded in 1921 as a special collection for genealogical research at Houston Public Library. The collection was originally housed in the Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston. In 1968, the genealogical collection was relocated to the Clayton Home at 5300 Caroline Street in Houston's historic Museum District and renamed the Clayton Library. The Clayton home is a three story brick Georgian style house built in 1917 and designed by Birdsall P. Briscoe. The house was the home of Houston businessman and statesman William Lockhart Clayton and his wife Susan Ada Vaughn Clayton until 1958, when it was deeded to the City of Houston to be used for library purposes.
The growth in the physical size of the genealogy collection created a need for an expanded location for the Clayton Library. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor the site for a new building was purchased in 1986 next door to the Clayton Home. The new facility was built in 1988 in a style designed to complement the Clayton Home. Furniture and equipment for the new building was funded by a grant from the Houston Endowment Inc. through the Clayton Library Friends.
Clayton Library on Caroline Street
Today, the Clayton Library is housed in a two-building complex encompassing the "new" Clayton Building and the former Clayton Home. The main facility currently houses the library's entire collection. The extensive collection of U.S. and foreign books, and CD-ROMs are on the first floor, and the second floor houses the microprint collection and the collection of over 5,000 family histories and the family vertical files. The Clayton Home is currently undergoing restoration work and is closed to the public. All of the research materials that were housed in the Clayton Home have been moved into the main building. Thousands of researchers from all over the United States visit the Clayton Library every month.