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Katherine and Michael McCoy Papers

Identifier: 1995-01

Collection Scope

Materials include correspondence, design samples and project and exhibit proceedings that pertain to the Cranbrook Academy of Art as well as various other professional affiliations and projects. While the collection is technically that of both the McCoy’s, the large majority of materials relate to Katherine McCoy. It appears that when correspondence or other materials are from both McCoy’s, it was Katherine who actually wrote most of the copy. When materials that are directly related to Michael McCoy appear, they are noted in the index.

SERIES I: Personal (1964-1994)includes resumes for both McCoy's and Katherine McCoy’s datebooks and a sketchbook from one of her undergraduate college art classes. SERIES II: Educational (1978-1995; undated) contains correspondence, student information and projects, and design samples relating to the Cranbrook Academy of Art and the McCoy’s co-chairmanship of it. SERIES III: Professional (1973-1994; undated) includes the design projects, conferences, professional affiliations, exhibits and correspondence related to either McCoy & McCoy or Katherine McCoy during the years of the McCoy’s co-chairmanship. SERIES IV: Correspondence (1972-1995) contains general correspondence and letters from design graduates. SERIES V: Photographs & Slides (1976-1994; undated) contains photographs and slides relating to the Cranbrook Catalog, CAA Tokyo Exhibit, DIA Photo Poster, CEC Signage, and 18 slides of student work. SERIES VI: Oversized (1976-1989; undated) includes a design samples scrapbook, IDSA membership certificates, and a Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium brochure.


  • circa 1971-1995
  • Majority of material found within 1972 - 1995



Access to the collection is unrestricted.


Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.


Katherine and Michael McCoy were co-chairs of the design department at Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1971 – 1994. The department taught both 2D and 3D design, with Katherine teaching 2D and Michael teaching 3D. They ran the department in a way that was occasionally labeled controversial, with no deadlines or assignments and only required a final thesis show of their students. The McCoys often encouraged radical thinking and it was not unheard of for them to collaborate with students on their projects. Michael McCoy was born on September 16, 1944 and received his BA from Michigan State University in industrial design in 1966, following it with an MA in industrial design form Wayne State University in 1968. He married Katherine in 1967. In 1975 he co-authored Problem Solving in the Man-Made Environment. He worked on the San Francisco Mass Transit Vehicle and designed high-tech furniture systems for Knoll International, Inc. He won over 100 national and international design awards and served on the board of editors for Industrial Design Magazine. Katherine McCoy was born Katherine Braden on October 12, 1945 and received her Magna Cum Laude BA in industrial design from Michigan State University in 1967. She worked with Unimark, Chrysler Corp. and Omnigraphics before founding McCoy & McCoy with her husband Michael in 1972. During her tenure as co-chair of the CAA, she was on the board of editors for Industrial Design Magazine, and was the executive vice president of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). She was also a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and the president of the American Center of Design. In 1983, she was elected to a 2-year term as the president of the IDSA, not only the first woman but the youngest person to do so.

She has received various awards from the AIGA, the Society of Typographic Arts 100 Show and the IDSA Education Award, amongst others. After her Cranbrook tenure, she was a visiting distinguished professor of the Royal College of Art in London, and a senior lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design in Chicago from 1995 – 2000. In 2005 she was a consulting professor at Kansas City Art Institute and she currently consults as a continuing partner at McCoy & McCoy. Together the McCoys created McCoy & McCoy and designed for Knoll International, Philips, Unisys and designed the signage for the Pontiac Silverdome. Besides co-chairing the CAA, they both worked on Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse in 1990 and in 1994 were awarded the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design. McCoy & McCoy has won more than 150 design awards.


10.4 Linear Feet (25 MS)

Language of Materials



Katherine and Michael McCoy were instructors and co-chairs of the Cranbrook Academy of Art Design Department from 1971 to 1994. Michael McCoy, born on September 16, 1944, is an award winning American industrial designer and educator. Katherine McCoy (nee Braden), born October 12, 1945, is an award winning American graphic designer, educator, and design consultant. In 1972 Katherine and Michael founded the design studio McCoy & McCoy Associates where their clients included Knoll International, Philips, Unisys, and the Pontiac Silverdome (Michigan). Since its founding, McCoy & McCoy has won more than 150 design awards. While at Cranbrook the McCoys contributed many of their talents as McCoy & McCoy, and in 1994 they received the Chrysler Award for Innovation and Design for their work on Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse. The collection comprises of materials reflecting the McCoys careers at Cranbrook and McCoy & McCoy Associates, however most of the materials pertain to Katherine McCoy. Included are correspondence, datebooks, resumes, certificates, a scrapbook of design samples, a college sketchbook, student information and work, design samples and projects, exhibits, photographs, slides, brochures, conferences, and professional affiliations.


The collection is divided into six series: Personal (Box 1); Educational (Boxes 1-6), Professional (Boxes 7-14), Correspondence (Boxes 14-22), Photographs & Slides (Box 23 & 25), and Oversized (Boxes 24). All folders have been arranged alphabetically. Correspondence is divided chronologically and is separated into general correspondence and letters from design graduates.

Additional Access

An index to the collection is available.


Gift of Katherine and Michael McCoy in 1995.

Related Materials

Cranbrook Academy of Art Administration Records (1981-09); Cranbrook Academy of Art President's Office: Roy Slade Records (1995-09); Cranbrook Educational Community President’s Office: Dr. Lillian H. Bauder Records (1991-16).

Processing History

Processed by Rachael Muszkiewicz, 2010.

Guide to the Katherine and Michael McCoy Papers
Original finding aid written by Rachael Muszkiewicz.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Resource record created by Nichole L. Manlove.

Repository Details

Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository