M. Garnett McCoy

Friday, January 14, 2011; 7:01 PM

M. Garnett McCoy, 85, who worked at the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art, died Jan 3 at his home in Cambridge, Md. He had emphysema.

Mr. McCoy joined the Smithsonian in 1970. In his two decades of service, he helped curate the archives' collection of letters and papers on American artists and art movements.

As a curator, he specialized in the papers of artists with strong political leanings. He wrote and helped edit a number of scholarly papers and books, including a guide to the archives' collection. He edited the archives' publication and helped guide scholars' research. He retired in 1993.

Mercer Garnett McCoy was born in Crozet, Va., and grew up on a sugar plantation on the Hawaiian island of Maui. He served in the Army during World War II and graduated from the University of Virginia.

He recieved a master's degree in library science from Catholic University. He was a longtime Capitol Hill resident before moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland last year. He was a competitive swimmer in Washington into his 80s.

His marriage to Sandra Ueland in divorce.

Survivors include his second wife, Mary Farrell McCoy; two children from his first marriage, Colin McCoy of Albany, N.Y., and Julie Griffin of Fort Worth, Tex., a sister; and two grandsons.

- T. Rees Shapiro


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