In this land of newcomers and transplants, Ernest Marquez can trace his California lineage back further than most. Born in 1924 on land that the Mexican government granted to his great-grandparents in 1839, Marquez has devoted much of his life to documenting a family history that began in 1771, when his great-great-grandfather Francisco Reyes arrived here as a soldier in the Spanish army. Since he began his research decades ago, Marquez has amassed a trove of more than 4,600 photographs—now part of the collections of the Huntington Library—that show the transformation of his family’s Rancho Boca de Santa Monica into the coastal communities we know today as Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.
Ernie was also recognized this year by the American Association for State and Local History and was given the Award of Merit for “his outstanding scholarship and leadership in preserving and interpreting Southern California history and being dedicated-- for over six decades-- to local history in the Los Angeles area, founding preservation societies, curating exhibits, and authoring books.” He is also one of the collector’s highlighted in the LA as Subject Monomania L.A. project, made possible with support from Cal Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Avery Clayton (1947-2009), founder of the Mayme A. Clayton Library and longtime active member of LA as Subject, was a consummate gentleman and gifted colleague devoted to the ideals of the archival profession. His passionate dedication, unceasing enthusiasm, endless curiosity and unvarying kindness to friend and stranger alike define him as a man with class in the highest and best sense of the word.
Avery’s mission to “bring it to the world” with reference to the premiere collection of African American history assembled by his mother, Mayme A. Clayton, embodied many of the aspirations and goals that he shared with the greater archival community. This mission also reflects the mission of LA as Subject, to identify, preserve, and disseminate the primary sources for the cultural, economic, ethnic, political, and social history of the Los Angeles region.
In recognition of his life’s work, the Avery Clayton Spirit Award was established by the LA as Subject Executive Committee in 2010.
The nominees for the Avery Award are submitted by LA as Subject members and selected by past winners and the LA as Subject Executive Committee.