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909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804
410.742.4988

Museum Hours

Mon - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

John Lee Baldwin 

John Lee Baldwin was born in 1868 in Babylon, NY, but built his home in Long Island, NY. Baldwin was a hard-working and dedicated man who enjoyed making flying duck models which were purchased eagerly by the public every year. Never showing any inclination towards any other past time, Baldwin made thousands of duck models each year for more than 20 years with the price averaging about $2.50 per model. A man known for his “strong opinions and snap judgments,” he often refused to sell his models no matter the price offered, “only to turn to a youngster peeking in at the door and give him a present of a duck model.” Also known as an eccentric carver, many of his pieces included a sticker on the back quoting Baldwin’s famous saying, which also was displayed on a sign in his shop, “Never worked and never will.”

Using white pine and a jackknife, Baldwin became a master whittler in the American tradition, making what are remembered as “fine duck and goose decoys and songbird models.” His work is suspected to be owned privately, but none is known and available for illustration. Therefore, Baldwin mostly remembered through recollected stories and hearsay. Baldwin died in 1938, after which his models disappeared leaving their whereabouts a mystery. “After his death, his heirs had over two thousand finished models to dispose of, and they did just that.”