Thursday, February 25, 2016

More about Mayme Lee Clinkscale and her tearoom …

In Tuesday's blog post, I mentioned coming across an old photo of Mrs. Mayme Lee Clinkscale, at left, the proprietress of Chicago's Ideal Tea-Room, featured in a 1925 book about African-American progress. In that same book was another photo of a Mayme Clinkscale (no "Lee" in the name), at right, who was listed as a milliner. To my absolute delight, a savvy reader in New Hampshire, Marie Langlais, wrote to say that she found the mystery intriguing and put her genealogy research skills to fast use! I asked if I could have her permission to share her findings, and she graciously agreed. Here's what she found:

Using Ancestry and I was able to find that there were indeed two different Maymes. 

The milliner was married to a Forrest Clinkscale. The tea room owner (Mayme Lee) was married to a Martin Luther Clinkscale. Further research showed Forrest and Martin were brothers (who both married women named Mayme!). 

In the 1930 census Mayme Lee's occupation is listed as "caterer" and that she owned her own business. Her sister-in-law's shop was advertised in Black's Blue Book, 1921 as "Exclusive Millinery---Mourning our specialty". Black's Blue Book contained "Names addresses and phone numbers of colored home with a telephone. Classified List of Colored Business and Professional People".

There were 5 listings under "Tea Rooms" in the book: Bragg's, The Delmonico, Ideal, The Thorntine, and The University.

Both Maymes seem to have been quite successful at their businesses.

I was fascinated to learn this new information about not one but two successful Mayme Clinkscales, and I hope some of you are as well!


  1. Thank you for sharing what Marie found. How fun that the gentlemen both married ladies named Mayme! They sound like an enterprising family. I imagine that both women, and their families have interesting stories.

  2. How interesting! I didn't they the photos looked like the same woman, and there isn't enough age difference to be mother and daughter, so this clears up the mystery. I wonder if Mayme was a popular name in that area at that time.

    1. That's supposed to say "I didn't think"...

  3. Fascinating! Thank you for sharing this important part of history.

  4. Fascinating! Thank you for sharing this important part of history.


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