Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) will hold an opening reception on Saturday, January 14 from 10 am to 12 pm for an exhibition of selected decoys from the collection of Jerry Lincoln of Ogdensburg. Lincoln will be in the gallery to answer questions about his collection, and to share stories about his duck hunting experiences over many years. The decoys will remain on display at the TAUNY Center through the end of February.
The exhibit of Jerry Lincoln’s decoys is the first installment of TAUNY’s 2017 Personal Collection Series. This year, TAUNY will showcase personal collections from individuals around the region. Each collection has a special connection to the North Country; most of the items were originally produced or utilized here. These collections represent a diversity of interests related to the folk life and ongoing traditions of the region.
Looking through his duck decoy collection in preparation for the upcoming display, Jerry Lincoln told a tale of how the St. Lawrence River used to be so crowded with ducks that it was practically black. A duck hunter himself, Lincoln grew up surrounded by duck hunting and its related trappings, including the art of duck decoy making.
Decoys are wooden — and sometimes plastic — birds, usually ducks, used to attract birds when hunting. There are many notable makers represented in the collection, primarily from the Ogdensburg and Alexandria Bay regions, including Frankie Louis, Rosh Douglas, Bob and Bill Massey, and Bill Sr., Bill Jr. and Dick Hollis.
Jerry Lincoln’s full collection includes over 130 birds and is displayed throughout his home. As an avid duck hunter, he began collecting decoys over 30 years ago, finding them at garage sales or lost and forgotten in attics and basements while working in his pest control business. He especially values the family connections behind each of these birds, and he has a personal story about nearly every single decoy in his collection — from his efforts to reunite the occasional found treasure with the makers’ descendants to his joy in receiving two beautiful swan decoys as a gift from noted decoy maker (and TAUNY Heritage Award recipient) Dick Hollis to Lincoln’s own daughter.
This exhibit is made possible by the support of Hilltop Hunting & Fishing Supply.
The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, downtown Canton. TAUNY is a nonprofit organization that showcases the folk culture and living traditions of New York’s North Country. More information is available on their website.
Photos: Jerry Lincoln and his decoy displays at his home in Ogdensburg