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Elmer Crowell’s decoys were described in a 1914 Boston Globe article as “the best ever produced by hand in any workshop,” and they are now prized by collectors for sheer beauty of form, detailed carving, and masterful, subtle brushwork.
In his twenties Crowell was actively gunning for the market, and he also began to work for sporting gentlemen who appreciated his skills in handling live decoys and shooting. A few of these men became his first patrons, enabling him to pursue carving full-time.
From the beginning Crowell carved decorative birds along with working decoys, but after 1918, when the Migratory Bird Act brought an end to market gunning, decoratives became the core of his business.