A Finding Aid to the Benjamin Layton collection, circa 1865-1977, in the Anacostia Community Museum Archives
ACMA.06-031
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
ACMA.06-031
Creators:
Layton, Benjamin
Dates:
circa 1865-1977
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
3.45 linear feet
5 boxes; 1 folder
Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
The Benjamin Layton collection documents the life, family history, and interests of Benjamin T. Layton. Items date from circa 1865 to 1977. The collection measures 3.45 linear feet and is composed of newsletters, clippings, pamphlets, newspapers, correspondence, certificates, photographs, memorabilia, books, stamps, etchings, and programs.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The collection documents the life, family history, and collecting interests of World War II veteran and federal employee Benjamin T. Layton. Layton grew up in Virginia and settled in Kensington, Maryland. Notable aspects of the collection include nineteenth-century photographs of African Americans, photographs of Layton’s family, 1970s political photographs, and first editions of Richard Wright’s
Black Boy
and Booker T. Washington’s
Up from Slavery
and
Working with the Hands
. Family photographs and memorabilia reflects the family’s roots in Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area. Layton’s historical photograph collection draws from photographers in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Items date from circa 1865 to 1977. The collection measures 3.45 linear feet and is composed of newsletters, clippings, pamphlets, newspapers, correspondence, certificates, photographs, memorabilia, books, stamps, etchings, and programs. It has been arranged in three series: Series I: Biographical Files, 1913-1977, Series II: Photographs, circa 1865-1977, and Series III: Printed Material, 1901-circa 1976. Some items in Series II and Series III are oversized.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Benjamin Thomas Layton was born on December 24, 1917, in Hanover, Virginia, to a prominent Virginia family. His maternal great-grandfather, Ballard Trent Edwards, was a freeborn African American man who opened a school for formerly enslaved people and served for eight years in the Virginia House of Delegates. His father, William Brown Layton, was the superintendent of the Negro Reformatory of Virginia (later the Virginia Manual Labor School), a reform school for African American boys located in Hanover County.
Layton was an athlete and scholar, playing varsity tennis and attending Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. He did graduate work in social sciences at the University of Chicago and Howard University, but his studies were interrupted by the draft in 1941.
Layton served with distinction in the U.S. Army during World War II, leading truck convoys carrying soldiers, supplies, weapons, and prisoners of war during the Battle of the Bulge. He also worked in military intelligence. His last active duty assignment was commanding a military detachment in Baumholder, Germany. His decorations included the Bronze Star, which he was awarded in 1977. He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring from the Army in 1963.
From 1963 to 1966 he worked in Europe, then returned to the United States in 1966, where he was an ROTC instructor at Chamberlain Vocational High School in Washington, D.C. He left in 1967 to become an equal-opportunity specialist at the United States Department of Agriculture, from which he retired in 1985. His brother William W. Layton also lived and worked in the Washington, D.C., area.
Layton had a passion for collecting and donated coins, paper money, and military artifacts to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. He also donated objects relating to clubs and fraternities to the Anacostia Community Museum. He was a member of numerous organizations, including the Retired Officers Association, the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, the American Legion, the Prince Hall Masons, the Kiwanis Club of Wheaton, and the Federation Nationale des Anciens Combattants, a French veterans group.
Layton was married twice, his first marriage to Irma Goode ending in divorce. He lived in Kensington, Maryland, with his second wife Marguerite, with whom he had two daughters. He died on February 15, 2001, at age 83 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Administration
Processing Information note
The records were processed by Katie Seitz with the assistance of archivist Jennifer Morris in March 2016.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Katie Seitz
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The Benjamin Layton collection was donated to the Anacostia Community Museum in two accretions in 1976 and 1978 by Benjamin Layton.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation note
Benjamin Layton collection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Benjamin Layton.
Conditions Governing Use note
The Benjamin Layton collection is the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.

Related Archival Materials note
The Anacostia Community Museum houses more items in the Benjamin Layton Collection, including buttons, fraternity paddles, lapel pins, and medals.
Order to Report for Induction, 1941. 1993.3172.04. The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, National Museum of American History.
Notice to Appear for Physical Exam, 1940. 1993.3172.03. The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, National Museum of American History.
Layton Family Collection, 228 THL, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA, USA.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Agnew, Spiro T., 1918-1996 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Layton, Benjamin Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nixon, Pat, 1912- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rockefeller, Nelson A., (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wright, Richard, 1908-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American families Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American newspapers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American soldiers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American veterans Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bronze Star Medal (U.S.) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cabinet photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cartes-de-visite Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Copy prints Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Etchings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newsletters Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pamphlets Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographic prints Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Politicians--United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Portraits Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Postage stamps Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Programs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tintypes Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
1901 Fort Place, SE
Washington, D.C., 20020
Phone: 202-633-4853
ACMArchives@si.edu