Alderson "Sandy" Magee,
the only child of John and Alice Magee, was born on October
5, 1929, in Hartford, Connecticut. He was a "typical
boy" except for his unusual fascination with the principles
of flight. Birds, airplanes, and lighter-than-air craft all
drew his attention with magnetic force. Once, while still
a young boy, he built a hot air balloon and made plans to
set it loose. All systems were was "go" and the
flame was lit. However, before the balloon could begin its
ascent, his grandmother saw the flame, and thinking that something
was awry, vigorously attacked it with a broom. The balloon
tilted crazily to one side, then toppled and burned beyond
Following a three-year enlistment
in the United States Marine Corps, Sandy enrolled at the University
of Connecticut from which he received a Bachelor of Science
degree in Industrial Management. This, combined with his life-long
interest in aviation, secured a position for him with Pratt
and Whitney Aircraft as a technical representative.
The position proved to be very
interesting and at times quite exciting. He was on assignment
in Adana, Turkey, at the time Francis Gary Powers took off
on his ill-fated flight over Soviet territory in his Lockheed
U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The events that followed are
well-known to most Americans.
A not-so-well-known aircraft
is the Gee-Bee biplane. The Gee-Bees rose to fame in the early
1930's as superb racing airplanes. A racing Gee-Bee piloted
by Jimmy Doolittle won the 1932 Thompson Trophy race, one
of the most coveted trophies of the times.
In 1965, while serving as executive
secretary for the Bradley Air Museum in Connecticut, Sandy
located the last remaining Gee-Bee biplane in the world. He
went to Claremore, Oklahoma, intent on flying it back to the
museum, but over Ohio the engine failed and he made a successful
forced landing. The aircraft was then dismantled and transported
by truck to Connecticut.
In 1968 he and a close friend
entered into negotiations with the Guatemalan government to
purchase their inventory of twelve North American P-51 "Mustang"
fighter planes. After a trip to Guatemala to inspect the aircraft,
it became evident that the Guatemalans could not bear to part
with them and all negotiations were terminated.
While holding the position of
director of trade show exhibits for Pratt and Whitney, he
hired an intelligent and very pretty secretary, Mary Ann Kaspar.
In May of 1970 she became Mrs. Alderson Magee and has been
at Sandy's side ever since. Two months after he won the duck
stamp contest their daughter, Kathryn, was born.
Sandy has always had a keen interest
in the paintings of the Old Masters, and white on assignment
in Europe for Pratt and Whitney he visited most of the major
-art galleries. His interest was so intense that he finally
purchased some oil paints and watercolors and began the difficult
task of teaching himself to paint.
By 1971 he felt that he could
make it on his own in the art world; he resigned from Pratt
and Whitney and began a new career in the field of fine art.
Sandy was keenly aware of the areas in which his talent needed
improvement, so he enrolled in several courses at the West
Hartford Art League under the direction of Estelle Coniff.
He could not have had a better instructor. She seemed to have
a sure answer for every question regarding technique, light
values, composition, etc. . . . a most unusually talented
woman. In 1972 he decided to try his hand at scratchboard,
a medium about which he had read in an old art book. He so
taken by this technique that he has worked in no other medium