Madalyn Joyce


Sheldon Brown

Ercoupe Ercoupe
Madalyn Joyce (then Madalyn Joyce Brown)
with her first husband, George Brown, 1950

Her Life

My mother, Madalyn Joyce (Brown) (Sargent) was an artist, antique dealer, and, later in life, a librarian. She was born (August 17, 1914) and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father, John Joyce died two months before her birth.

Her mother, Helen O'Meara Joyce, was left a widow with two children (Warren was 2 years old.) Helen became a highly successufl real-estate speculator--she owned close to 200 pieces of property in the Boston area in November of 1929...After the great Crash, Helen loaded her children and her remaining possesions into her Packard touring car and drove to Hollywood, where she had a brief fling at a career as a movie actress. (I wish I knew more about that, but the details are lost in the mysts of history.)

The family eventually wound up in Schenectady, New York. During WWII, Madalyn worked for General Electric, manufacturing transformers for the war effort. In 1943, she met and married George Brown, a widower with two children, who was an electronic engineer at G.E. After my birth, in 1944, the family moved to North Tarrytown (now known as "Sleepy Hollow") New York, where she lived until the death of her husband in a 1953 air crash.

After a brief sojourn back in Schenectady, she moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts, where her mother had a seasonal antique business, "The Corner Shop." Madalyn took over the business when Helen died in 1956.

Madalyn was better qualified as an artist than as an enterpreneur, and eventually the antique business failed. Fairly late in life, she made a complete career change, taking a job in a local library, and gradually working her way up to be a full-fledged librarian, working in libraries in Marblehead, Saugus and West Lynn, Massachusetts. She also re-married, to a Addison Sargent, a retired engineer.

Her Art


Although she was professionally trained as an artist, she was never a commercial success. She worked mainly in watercolors and oils. She tended to avoid human subjects, and long specialized in "city-scapes" which she would usually paint with a tiny portable watercolor outfit that she always traveled with. Her watercolors are mostly, strictly speaking, mixed-media, because they combine pen-and-ink with the watercolor. [Samples will appear on this site at a later date.]


She had an abiding interest, both as an antique dealer and as an artist, in folk arts. While she was working as a librarian in West Lynn, she discovered a little-known Polish folk art called "Wycinanki." She became quite taken with this, and became a rather notable expert on the subject, giving lecture-demonstrations all over New England. At the time of her death, in 1982, she had a fairly complete manuscript for a book on Wycinanki, which you may read by clicking here:


Wycinanki Reproduction Wycinanki
Artists &
Contents Designs
& Kids
Kodry Kurpie Lowicz Wydsmuski Bibliography
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Geneological Data

Sheldon Brown

updated Monday, November 10, 1997
Copyright © 1997, 2008 Sheldon Brown