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Biographical Note | A Finding Aid to the Porter A. McCray papers, 1939-1989

Porter A. McCray papers, 1939-1989

Biographical Note

Porter A. McCray (1908-2000) was an arts administrator working in New York City, New York.
Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia in 1908, McCray recieved a degree in English literature from the Virginia Military Institute in 1930, and a degree in architecture from Yale University in 1941. McCray traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, developing relationships with individuals and organizations across the world.
In 1941, McCray worked as an exhibition specialist in the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and collaborated with the Museum of Modern Art on an American exhibition at the Guatemala National Fair. After serving as an ambulance driver in World War II, he was employed by the architectural firm of Harrison and Abramovitz where he worked on some preliminary designs of the present site of the United Nations.
While working for Harrison, McCray met Nelson Rockefeller, who was chairman of the board of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). In 1947, Rockefeller asked McCray to serve as the director of circulating exhibitions at MOMA and be responsible for the Museum's national and international traveling exhibition program. McCray accepted and remained at MOMA until 1961. The following year, he orchestrated the preparation of a MOMA exhibition of Mark Rothko's work in Paris in 1962. In 1963, McCray became the executive director of the JDR 3rd Fund, a non-profit started by John D. Rockefeller III to promote artistic and cultural exchanges between the United States and Asia. McCray also worked as a consultant for the Japan Society's visual arts programs, the Asian Cultural Council, for the dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine's visual and performing arts program, and for MOMA's International Program after retiring.
McCray died in 2000 in Hightstown, New Jersey.